B.C. United Elenore Sturko crosses floor, joins B.C. Conservatives

Sturko follows fellow MLA Lorne Doerkson, who defected from United to the Conservatives on Friday, with both saying the B.C. Conservatives are the best choice to defeat Premier David Eby's New Democrats.

B.C. United Elenore Sturko crosses floor, joins B.C. Conservatives
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For the second time in recent days, B.C. United has seen an MLA cross the floor to the surging B.C. Conservatives. On Monday, Surrey South MLA Elenore Sturko announced she would become the latest B.C. Conservative MLA, following a Friday announcement from Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson that he was joining the Conservatives.

Sturko said the decision was made after discussions between the two parties collapsed in late May.

“I was very disappointed with the way that last discussion had taken place,” she told The Orca in an interview.

Talks between United and the Conservatives over a way to avoid vote splitting ahead of October's election failed to find an agreement, with Conservative Leader John Rustad calling United's proposal “completely unacceptable,” reported the Vancouver Sun.

“Time and time again, and in this ’offer,’ [B.C. United Leader] Kevin Falcon has demonstrated that he will always put himself first and will do absolutely anything for power — before the B.C. United Party, before his own candidates, and ultimately before the province,” Rustad said.

Falcon described United's offer “reasonable,” and said by rejecting it Conservatives were “risking another four years of (Premier David) Eby’s NDP government that will further jeopardize the well-being of this province.”

Sturko, however, said the popular momentum is with Rustad's Conservatives.

“It’s clear it has momentum. What B.C. United is doing under Kevin Falcon right now isn’t building that momentum, it isn’t resonating. If we want to be successful, we need to be not standing in the way of where that energy is. We need to make good use of this energy and put it to use into finding a way forward for B.C.,” Sturko said to The Orca.

In his remarks on Friday, Doerkson, who served as United's caucus chair, said the message he received from his constituents echoed Sturko's sentiments.

“I think they really feel as though that is the only alternate party to the NDP right now,” he said, as reported by CTV News“I am obviously excited about the prospects of what appears to be, in my mind, one of the largest grassroots movements in political history.”

A statement on Doerkson's comments from B.C. United to CTV described the MLA's actions as “driven by concern over polls and the desire to protect his government-funded pensions.”

Sturko's defection to the Conservatives, meanwhile is a “surprising defection,” says The Orca's Rob Shaw: 

[N]ot just because Sturko is one of BC United’s star MLAs, but also because she is a prominent member of the LGBTQTS+ community and is joining a Conservative party that has repeatedly been criticized for having candidates and policies that are homophobic and transphobic.

She told the outlet she's had “conversations” with Rustad over these issues, noting it would be wrong to say it wasn't “a concern or consideration,” but added not every person in a coalition has to agree on every single issue.

“But I’ve had very frank conversations with John. I certainly would never support any type of legislation or action that would see the rights of any British Columbian or Canadian diminished. And he feels the same way,” she said.

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