The Second Cummins of Christ: Only in British Columbia
Two things sprang to mind for me over the last weekend, while continuing to observe what will surely be the thunderous, and, deserving, implosion of the provincial Conservative party.
One, was my rather joyful read, some years ago, of ‘The Victory of Reason’ by controversial author Rodney Stark. A revolutionary at heart, and perhaps the most important religious researcher of the last 100 years, Stark advanced the cause of Christianity, through principled, rational postulates, which, even for anti-theists, plodded a logical path–whether you believed or not. Putting yourself in the position of any reasonable Christian (thanks to the BC Conservative Party, this, for us, is NO LONGER a redundant phrase) it’s not hard to accept the sensible arguments in support of the world’s most pervasive monotheistic faith as facilitator of democracy, justice, science, intellectualism (remember the origins of the intellectual parlours; held by Christ–whether you believe him the Son of God, or not) and, yes, even politics.
Christianity, like no other religion, has its significant warts, too. Mammoth ones. But Stark’s assertions, at least for me, a sometimes disaffected Christian, rang utterly true. While I appreciate the scientific arguments opposed, I cannot extract faith from faith, which is what one would need do to understand, dare I say accept, my hero’s last great book, ‘God is Not Great’.
The late Hitch, God keep rested his weary soul, had a way with titles.
The second, was how I distinctly remember viewing the now infamous video of former premier Bill VanderZalm, wherein he compared his then sorry political predicament to the crucifixion of The Almighty.
I was deeply conflicted. While I understood where the premier was going, it was neither the time or place to raise the matter. This was the eighties.
The world opted for cocaine, to slow down…
Trying to fathom VanderZalm’s incomprehensible juxtaposition (one had been crucified to death, the other simply having a rough political ride) was one thing, but having to accept that this was precisely what his critics were waiting for–and leapt upon, was quite another.
I was a political aide, eventually. This didn’t seem right to me at all.
Who wouldn’t take care to stay away from such untimely?
Though, in VanderZalm’s case, and, I might add, happily, he now gets it. Not long ago, we were reminiscing about the old days and in a moment of complete clarity and total honesty (which have not escaped him or his perpetually sharp noggin’), Bill said: “You know, Alex, as we saw it together, there really isn’t a place for that kind of discussion in politics. One doesn’t have to give up their principles, but it’s good to be careful how you convey them. I think we learned that the hard way perhaps, however…things are radically different now…and we know. Don’t we?”
Yes, my old friend, we certainly do.
A rather seminal, yet cathartic, moment in the life of an exceedingly decent man, who genuinely cares about people, VanderZalm’s admission–as well, Stark’s left-brained, cogent probe, might well be a study and a half, for beleaguered BC Conservative leader John Cummins.
His ‘God Complex’ is, frankly, astonishing, if not offensive. Last week, when he uttered almost the identical words about himself to the comparison Bill made over two decades ago, I shuddered to think that this was a man that could possibly understand what he’d done.
Or someone lucid enough to run a liquorice counter at the corner store, much less the province.
Cummins, for all of his tenacity, has, of late, comported himself like a complete idiot. A full-on buffoon. His critics aren’t the ones handing Christy back any percentage of the center-right vote, Jesus Cummins and his followers are.
This afternoon, I obtained an exclusive copy of an email sent by raving dimbell, Al Siebring, a Director-at-Large of the Benevolent Utterly Lovely Literally Stupendous High Intensity Tent (BULLSHIT).
Here is his shameless, shameful, unedited screed:
To: CA Presidents, BCCP.
In the most recent email you received from Mr. Besler (copied below), he neglects to mention several things. First of all, the motion to give Mr.Cummins the honorarium passed unanimously.
Ben Besler voted for this honorarium.
From the minutes of the July 7th meeting:
“It is moved by Ian Pyper, seconded by Joan Robinson:
Having regard to:
1. The fact that the Provincial Election in BC is just over 10 months away; and
2 The advice given to this Board at its meeting on June 9th, 2012,by our Leader, John Cummins, that the costs of leadership were such that he would have to curtail his current heavy schedule and,
3. The fact that the Leaders of the other two major parties receive substantial remuneration and expenses both from their Parties and from the people through Legislature salaries and benefits;
It is hereby moved that the Leader of the BC Conservative Party receive an honorarium of $4000 per month commencing on July 1, 2012.
(The minutes do not show any negative recorded votes. The roll call shows Mr. Besler was at the meeting. Those minutes were approved by the Board without amendment at a subsequent meeting, and again Mr. Besler was present. What’s all of that tell you?)
As to the business about donations falling off, it’s not as serious as he makes it out to be. And interestingly, to the degree that there has been a drop in donations, that didn’t start to happen in any substantive way until a few dissidents on the Board started causing trouble for the AGM organizing committee, leaking confidential stuff to the media, and agitating for a leadership review with the unauthorized use of a improperly obtained (stolen?) membership database.
For them to whine to you (or the membership at large) about the problems that exist now is akin to dousing the inside of a house with gasoline, throwing a match into it, and then running to the neighbours to complain that the house is on fire!!!
Mr. Besler has spread this poison beyond just the CA Presidents. Anyone who bothered to respond to his first email received essentially the same letter as the one below. One answer I saw from a Party member sums up the appropriate response:
“If you think Cummins is in this for personal income you are insane. I have been one of the largest contributors… (and) I would never question his leadership or his success in building this Party. He gave up a lot to do this for us. We need to support him. I am ashamed of people who have embarrassed us so much in these recent weeks. You have done more for Christy than she has done for herself. You should be ashamed.”
Indeed, he should.
Director at Large,
Siebring is, of course, foaming at the fangs, over this little diddy below, produced by fellow Director and Party Vice-President, Ben Besler.
—– Original Message —–
From: Ben Besler
Date: 5 September, 2012
Subject: Address to BCC Presidents
Hello, BC Conservative Presidents:
The feedback I’ve been getting from my address to the membership, this past week, has been positive in the fact that I have had a chance to clear up issues relating to party communication and administration that have been weighing heavy this past term.
It seems as though there are issues affecting our party that many of you had wished the respect of knowing sooner, but were not privy to.
Please let me clarify, too, that my intent on bringing to light party matters and the encouragement to vote yes in the leadership review, is that this party can ensure a strong success in the next general election.
Although you may not be aware, it has been made public knowledge, that our party has limited funds and has weekend its ability to raise funds this term. In fact, last month our expenses were twice that of funds raised. With this in mind, in a vote that was not permitted to go to secret ballot at a board meeting, by our party president Reed Elley when asked for; and in contrast to our one MLA putting up his own money to fight the BC Rail case. John Cummins is now taking $4000.00 per month, plus his expenses, of the party’s limited resources, to add to his extremely high personal income, at a time when we need every resource possible to fight the next general election. With this in mind, we must ask ourselves what the motivation of the leadership of this party is when we have not seen, although we have gone through two by-elections, one workshop to train our volunteers in election readiness. When we had seen the growth of this party’s organisation develop, on an average rate at one Constituency Association (CA) every two weeks from 2010-2011, to a stagnant term where CAs have now resigned and dissolved. To the inability to provide in many instances a positive work environment, respect to volunteers, and a proper channel of communication to you our CA presidents and local representatives.
The fact of the matter is that we will not be relevant in the next election, even in times like these, through a campaign of press releases and limited resources.
I hope this brings more clarification to recent statements.
If there are other items I can clear up, you can give me a private call.
BC Conservative Party
This contest of titans–not, is, of course, all over Besler’s grounded, sober and pragmatic effort to force Cummins into immediate retirement. Siebring, on the other hand, is part of the incoherently babbling, hard-line, right-wing radical ‘God Squad’, which has the party in its death grip.
Siebring tries to excuse party President, and generally bigoted, Rev. Reed Elley, who before a July Board vote on Cummins ridiculous, obscene stipend, demanded an open ballot–thus forcing even those, like Besler, who knew better, to be embarrassed into voting ‘yay’.
These people are no better qualified to run a lemonade stand than they are a province. It’s simple: inexperienced ignoramuses, such as Siebring, are actually delusional enough to believe Cummins, single-handidly brought their party from the outhouse to the penthouse.
Apparently, they aren’t able to, at all, recognize a first floor elevator door when they see one.
Cummins isn’t responsible for the vast majority of BC Conservative success. Christy Clark is. If Falcon or Abbott had not been cheated out of the leadership by Clark’s mentor Patrick Kinsella, her brother Bruce and her ex-husband Mark Marissen–the latter two, political thugs of the first order (just ask Dave Basi and Bob Virk), then there would be NO BC Conservative Party to speak of. And if there were, perhaps the outside rim of 5% in the polls would be visible from the front row, never mind the back.
If you object to nothing else of Cummins’ insanity–I note, the list has become exhaustive, the fact he is collecting $4000.00 per month from his party when they can ill-afford it, tells you everything you need to know. Cummins as possible leader of this province is a sham, only second to the one being fulsomely perpetrated by the current occupant of the throne in the West Annex.
But no one awaken Siebring or the rest of the imbeciles wanting to go into battle with an absent-minded, septaugenarian extremist dullard, who believes it, in any way grounded, to compare his political journey to Christ’s Resurrection.
If John Cummins is still the leader of the party past the BC Conservative convention in two weeks, then you can prepare for the withdrawal of Rick Peterson as their star candidate in Vancouver (the Quilchena nomination has been postponed)–a massive blow to their credibility, and the sitting as an Independent of the people’s hero, John vanDongen–the coup de grâce.
The machinations will transpire with all the hellfire of their favourite tome, I assure you.
Because there will be blood.
Just no wooden cross or nails.
A special shout out to the Premier!
Christy, it was good to see you in the school’s drive way yesterday, even from twenty feet away. Why did you leave so quickly after I appeared? Hmm, that’s strange. Too bad you leapt into your security detail’s vehicle before I could catch up to you and congratulate you on getting Hamish accepted to St. George’s.
Remember, when on the property or at ANY school events, we’re on the same team.
Don’t forget to remind Marky Mark.
And by the way, I loved your suit…