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BC United explores common ground and potential deal with surging BC Conservatives


At a news conference about after-school care Tuesday, Premier David Eby seemed preoccupied with the BC Conservatives and its leader John Rustad.

No less than 10 times, Eby mentioned Rustad or the BC Conservatives – multiple times pivoting from questions on topics -- such as federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre's views on decriminalization, to attacks on Rustad

The responses came on the same day as the latest in a series of polls showed a tight race between the NDP and BC Conservatives – only separated in an Abacus Data survey by six points. Meanwhile, the poll showed the official opposition BC United well behind in third, just ahead of the Greens.

"Obviously I'm not thrilled by those kinds of numbers," said BC United leader Kevin Falcon.

Falcon acknowledged Tuesday talks are underway behind the scenes between the two right-of-centre parties, including exploring the possibility of merger-type options.

"We have to put aside our own egos, our own party issues – everything else – and just figure out whether there's common ground, we can keep in mind the most important objective, which is making sure that we don't end up with another NDP government," said Falcon.

A source with the BC Conservatives told CTV News that Gordon Campbell has been asked to represent Kevin Falcon and BC United in behind-the-scenes discussions to see if a deal or common ground can be found between the two parties.

NDP looking for wedge issues?

Also on Tuesday, the NDP re-ignited calls for Rustad and his candidates to declare their position on abortion rights.

"There should be a clear understanding of where he stands on the issue," said Attorney General Niki Sharma. "What we expect from a premier is for him to reflect the value of British Columbians."

When asked again about the issue, Rustad didn't state his personal beliefs, but repeated what he's said previously, that his party would not reopen the debate or impact access to abortions in B.C.

“The Conservative Party of British Columbia has no intention to open the abortion debate, that’s a federal issue," Rustad said. "The issue was resolved in 1988 with the court case and we have no intention to address this or to try to raise this issue at all."

Hamish Telford, a political scientist, says the NDP is trying to create a wedge issue on the topic.

"The NDP obviously wants to make a wedge issue out of abortion, and probably over LGBTQ rights as well. But what really appears to be driving the Conservative support is not these hot button wedge issues, but the cost of living issues,” said the University of the Fraser Valley professor on Tuesday.

It's that support that has caught the attention of the Conservatives opponents, on both sides of the political spectrum. Top Stories

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