The BC Liberal Party says it has rejected a bid from Aaron Gunn to be considered in the party’s ongoing leadership race, but the former BC Proud spokesman vowed that his fight is not over.
Gunn, a “small-c conservative” who ran on a slogan of “Bring back common sense,” declared his intent earlier this month to secure the leadership and become the next premier of B.C.
But on Friday, the co-chair of the party’s election organizing committee Roxanne Helme and party president Paul Barbeau released a statement saying they declined Gunn’s application for candidacy.
“After a thorough review of Mr. Gunn’s statements on social media, both public and private, and after having provided Mr. Gunn with the opportunity to respond to concerns raised by certain of those statements, LEOC concluded that to approve Mr. Gunn’s candidacy would be inconsistent with the BC Liberal Party’s commitment to reconciliation, diversity and acceptance of all British Columbians,” said Helme.
Rumblings from within the party indicated the leadership committee and executive board did not like Gunn’s views on residential schools.
Speaking with CHEK’s Rob Shaw, Gunn said the dispute centred on four of his tweets where he said residential schools were horrific but not technically genocide, a position he said some federal Conservatives and BC Liberals supported.
Responding to news of the decision on Twitter, Gunn said he would release a full statement but vowed that his fight to represent the party was not over.
I will be releasing a full statement later today, but rest assured, if you think this fight is over, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The fight is only just beginning. 2/2
— Aaron Gunn (@AaronGunn) October 22, 2021
Gunn also pointed to the fact that his candidacy was supported by Ellis Ross, the only Indigenous candidate in the race, who sent a letter to the organizing committee urging it to approve Gunn’s application.
The BC Liberal leadership race will conclude on Feb. 5, 2022, and those interested in voting have until 5 p.m. Dec. 17 to join the party and be eligible to cast their ballots.
The six candidates officially in the race are Gavin Dew, Kevin Falcon, Michael Lee, Val Litwin, Ellis Ross and Renee Merrifield.
With files from CHEK’s Rob Shaw.
Doesn’t appear to be a mechanism to appeal the party decision but Gunn said he’s considering next steps.
Fears from many BCLibs is he could be a powerful force for the BC Conservatives, which splits off Lib votes.
— Rob Shaw (@RobShaw_BC) October 22, 2021