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Rustad brands Falcon 'clearly irrational' after BC United leader says BC Cons rejected election deal

(UPDATE: May 24 at 12:03 pm): BC Conservative Party Leader John Rustad has blamed BC United Leader Kevin Falcon for the failure of the two parties to work together.

In a statement released after Falcon said Rustad "placed his own ambition above the best interests of British Columbia," Rustad said he can "say with certainty that the Conservative Party of BC and the BC United Party will not be merging before the upcoming provincial election this fall."

He repeated his claim that Falcon declined the BC Conservatives' offer to discuss a merger in December 2023, with the insurgent party allegedly being told to "f**k off."

“In February, we tried again and BC United stated they’d be interested in speaking but Kevin Falcon would ‘dictate’ the terms," Rustad said in his statement.

But Falcon rejected that claim in a post on X, adding that Rustad is "trying to trick you."

Rustad added: “On May 23, 2024, a mere 4 months before the election and now that the BC United is tied with the Green Party at 12 per cent in recent polls – he finally presented our Conservative Team an 'offer.'

“Time and time again, and in this ’offer,’ Kevin Falcon has demonstrated that he will always put himself first and will do absolutely anything for power: before the BC United Party, before his own candidates, and ultimately before the province."

He added that Falcon's offers have been "completely unserious and dishonest."

<who> Photo credit: BC Conservatives </who> John Rustad.

"Falcon is clearly irrational and unreasonable and prepared to lie," he said. "This makes it impossible to trust anything he says."

Rustad said he remains committed to running candidates in all 93 ridings in the coming election.

(Original story: May 24 at 11:30 am): BC United Leader Kevin Falcon has accused the leader of the Conservative Party of BC of rejecting “a reasonable offer” for the parties to work together.

Falcon said John Rustad declined to enter into a six-point “non-competition framework” (which can be read in full below) with his party, and did not put forward a counter-proposal.

Representatives from two right-of-centre parties met in Vancouver on May 2 and May 22, according to Falcon.

Neither Rustad nor Falcon was involved in the meetings, he said.

<who> Photo credit: NowMedia </who> Kevin Falcon speaking with NowMedia earlier this year.

“Over the course of these talks, our only objective was to minimize the risk of vote splitting by prioritizing the good of the province over any personal or political interests,” the leader of the opposition explained.

He said the BC Conservative officials – including the party’s executive director, Angelo Isidorou – acted in “genuine good faith” during the meetings.

But he added: “Despite the common ground achieved during these meetings, last night John Rustad decided to reject a reasonable offer aimed at preventing a vote split, risking another four years of Eby’s NDP government that will further jeopardize the well-being of this province. In doing so, John Rustad placed his own ambition above the best interests of British Columbia.

“As British Columbians continue to ask John Rustad and myself on the campaign trail why we could not find common ground, I can confidently say that BC United did everything possible to secure a free enterprise, non-competition framework.”

Rustad and the BC Conservatives are yet to respond to Falcon’s claims.

Last week, however, Rustad claimed there were plans to "kick out our grassroots" to create a unified right-wing party, something which he said was "not going to happen."

He also said he “tried to come to the table months ago” to discuss a potential deal with BC United, but claimed the answer he received was: “F**k off.”

At a press conference this morning, Falcon again mentioned what he said was the “problematic” nature of some of the BC Conservatives’ candidates.

But he also refused to rule out the possibility that the two parties could form a coalition government if they each win enough seats in the election, which is set to be held on Oct. 19.

In a statement released this morning, Falcon revealed the details of the proposal made to BC United.

It reads as follows:

  1. The parties will not merge. They are each responsible for their own leaders, fundraising and election campaigns.

  2. The parties agree not to attack one another over the course of the campaign.

  3. The parties will not run candidates against each other’s MLAs who are running for re-election. This is two BC Conservative seats and 15 BC United seats.

  4. The BC Conservatives will run 47 seats and BC United will run 46 because BC United has more incumbents to protect.

  5. The seats will be divided up between the parties in a draft format, whereby the BC Conservatives can each make three choices for each one that BC United makes until each party has picked the same number of ridings (including incumbents). From that point, the parties will alternate choices until the agreed-upon total number of seats for each party is reached.

  6. If the combined seat total in the election exceeds the NDP the parties agree to form a coalition government. The Premier will be the party leader that won more seats, while the party leader that wins the smaller number of seats will be the Deputy Premier and hold a senior ministerial portfolio. Cabinet seats would be allocated in proportion to the number of seats held by each party.

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