One of Abbotsford’s MLAs has left the BC United political party.
Bruce Banman, MLA for Abbotsford South, announced Wednesday that he’s joined the Conservative Party of British Columbia after “careful consideration.”
In a press release he said he is proud to join his “friend John Rustad as the voice for everyday hardworking people and that the Conservatives are the “only party that stands for what’s right in the legislature, rather than what’s politically convenient or politically correct.”
Banman was elected in 2020 as a BC Liberal, the former name of BC United, with 44 per cent of the vote. At the time he was also an Abbotsford city councillor, a role he had held since 2018. He stepped down from council in February 2021 to focus solely on being MLA. That triggered by-election for one city council seat, which was won by Dave Sidhu.
Prior to that, he was mayor of Abbotsford from 2011 to 2014.
On Wednesday, he said he moved parties because the Conservatives have “common sense.”
The Conservative Party of British Columbia has made history today! Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bruce Banman to our caucus! A strong and principled advocate for his constituents, Bruce will sit as our second MLA in the legislature. #bcpoli— Conservative Party of BC (@Conservative_BC) September 13, 2023
Release: https://t.co/pDe3W3vgfQ pic.twitter.com/JEuBWvdPw7
“We don’t support Trudeau-backed policies like the punishing carbon tax that hurts everyday people; we refuse to condone the ideological NDP education agenda that teaches students what to think instead of how to think; and, we will never support the myth of safe supply that kills British Columbians and poisons our communities with hard drugs,” he said.
“I believe B.C. needs a leader who is a straight up, decent human being — and a party that’s willing to put politics aside to stand for what’s right.”
He said Rustad is that leader.
Banman is now the second MLA in the province under the Conservative banner, the same number as the Green Party. This also will give them official party status.
He was serving as the BC United’s shadow minister for Emergency Management, Climate Readiness and Citizen Services.
BC United leader Kevin Falcon said Banman’s departure “was not entirely unexpected due to ongoing internal management challenges with Bruce” and that “his decision betrays the Abbotsford constituents who elected him as a member of our team. But as we move forward, our focus remains unwavering.”
Falcon added that “our focus will remain on championing big ideas and nominating incredible candidates – including in Abbotsford South – who will work to restore confidence in British Columbia.”
Abbotsford South has a history of MLAs leaving the Liberals. John van Dongen was elected a Liberal in 2009, then left the party to sit as a Conservative, then as an independent. Darryl Plecas was elected as a Liberal in 2013 and then left the party to sit as an independent.