(BC United Leader Kevin Falcon says the BC Conservatives have rejected a deal to avoid vote-splitting in the fall provincial election. Falcon addresses a press conference at the legislature in Victoria, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

by Dirk Meissner

The Canadian Press

Times Colonist

May 25, 2024

VICTORIA — A proposed deal to avoid vote splitting between British Columbia’s two right-of-centre parties in the fall election has fallen apart with their leaders blaming each other and trading scathing personal remarks.

BC United Leader Kevin Falcon said in a statement Friday the talks ended with B.C. Conservative Leader John Rustad ultimately deciding against a proposed “non-competition” agreement.

Falcon blamed Rustad for prioritizing “his own ambition” while Rustad said in a statement that Falcon was “irrational and unreasonable and prepared to lie.”

Rustad added in an interview that BC United’s proposal was “completely unacceptable.”

Falcon said there were talks between two representatives of each party this month, most recently on Wednesday, and BC United proposed the non-competition framework.

He said the proposal included that the parties would not run candidates against each other’s members who were seeking re-election, and the BC Conservatives would run in 47 seats and BC United in 46.

“Kevin Falcon declined our offers in December 2023 to discuss a possible merger — with a single message stating, and I quote, ‘’F#ck Off,’ ” he said. “In February, we tried again and BC United stated they’d be interested in speaking but Kevin Falcon would ‘dictate’ the terms.”

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