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BC United MLA Lorne Doerkson switches over to join the BC Conservatives


Lorne Doerkson, the MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, has crossed the floor to join the ranks of the BC Conservatives.

Doerkson made the announcement Friday, flanked by BC Conservative Leader John Rustad.

He called it the hardest decision of his life – one motivated by the inability of BC United and the BC Conservatives to strike a deal to work together in advance of the upcoming October election, as well as pressure from his constituents, keen to see a Conservative in their riding.

“Recent events have really shown that my residents…want a Conservative to represent them,” said Doerkson. “I think they really feel as though that is the only alternate party to the NDP right now.”

First elected in 2020, Doerkson has served as the Caucus Chair for BC United.

“I am obviously excited about the prospects of what appears to be, in my mind, one of the largest grassroots movements in political history,” he said.

In a statement to CTV News Friday, BC United did not mince words over Doerkson’s decision, claiming it was one “driven by concern over polls and the desire to protect his government-funded pensions.”

“We’re disappointed to hear Lorne Doerkson has decided to join John Rustad’s BC Conservatives, which includes candidates who are anti-LGBTQ+, anti-choice, and COVID-19/United Nations conspiracy theorists,” wrote BC United spokesperson Adam Wilson. “He will need to defend that decision at the only poll that actually matters—on election day.”

Doerkson’s defection comes one week after BC United Leader Kevin Falcon announced talks of an agreement between the two parties had fallen apart. Falcon laid the blame at Rustad’s feet for “torpoeding” an agreement at the last minute, but Rustad called the proposed deal “irrational.”

While rumours had been swirling prior to Friday’s announcement, called “major” by Rustad in his release, those rumours were all but confirmed at about noon when Doerkson’s clothes, boxes and a crockpot were spotted in the hallway outside the BC United Caucus offices. He acknowledged during the presser that he’d asked for his items to be moved out in advance of the announcement.

Doerkson’s addition to the Conservatives brings their caucus up to three MLAs, one ahead of the BC Greens. His loss reduces BC United to 25 MLAs. The BC NDP currently have 55 MLAs and there are two Independent MLAs.

There has been rampant speculation that other members of BC United are being courted by the BC Conservatives, including Surrey MLA Elenore Sturko. Asked about other BC United members joining the BC Conservatives, Rustad acknowledged he has been in talks with Sturko and other BC United candidates, but wouldn’t comment further.

“Certainly, I’m having conversations with anybody that’s interested in having conversations with us – and those conversations will be kept confidential,” said Rustad.

Polls over the past several months have consistently shown the BC Conservatives surging – largely at the expense of BC United–and gaining significant ground on the NDP. The most recent poll, released Thursday by The Angus Reid Institute shows 41 per cent of decided or leaning voters supported the NDP, while 30 per cent of those surveyed intend to vote for the BC Conservatives. Meanwhile, BC United, formerly called the BC Liberals, lagged well back with only 16 per cent support. The BC Greens had the support of 11 per cent of those canvassed. Top Stories

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