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B.C. United MLA Elenore Sturko defects to Conservatives

Another high-profile B.C. United MLA has crossed the floor to join the B.C. Conservatives, in the latest blow to the official Opposition.

Sturko says Conservatives' 'grassroots movement' can defeat NDP as she becomes party's 4th MLA

A woman with straight bright blonde hair in a bob, looks off to the left of the frame. She's wearing a black shirt and a blue blazer.

Another high-profile B.C. United MLA has crossed the floor to join the B.C. Conservatives, in the latest blow to the official Opposition.

Elenore Sturko, MLA for Surrey South, made the announcement at the legislature Monday morning standing next to B.C. Conservatives Leader John Rustad.

She said some might call it a "plot twist" but "we can only ignore the polls so long."

Sturko will run in the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale in the provincial election later this year.

She said she "thought long and hard" about making the move.

"It was a tough decision and ultimately I decided that I wanted to do the right thing and that is to join John and his team," said Sturko. She said the B.C. Conservatives are leading a "grassroots movement" that she believes can defeat the governing B.C. NDP in the next election.

WATCH | Second B.C. Opposition MLA joins Conservatives:

Another B.C. opposition MLA defects to 3rd party Conservatives

3 hours ago

Duration 2:02

The landscape of B.C. provincial politics could be undergoing a major shift with two high-profile defections from the official opposition B.C. United to the third-party B.C. Conservatives, who are ahead of the opposition in the polls.

On Friday, B.C. United's caucus chair Lorne Doerkson defected to the B.C. Conservatives.

Doerkson, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, said the Oct. 19 election is "simply too consequential" and his constituents want to see a Conservative government.

Sturko said she's lost faith in B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon.

"If you are the leader of a coalition, you have one job. And that is to bring people together and keep people together. And Kevin Falcon failed at that job," she said.

During a press conference in Vancouver Monday, Falcon said he's "disappointed and shocked" at Sturko's decision.

Falcon said Sturko is joining a party that "she has long disavowed to me and to caucus as being too extremist."

B.C. United has been sagging in major opinion polls, falling a distant third place behind the provincial NDP and Conservatives.

B.C. United and the B.C. Conservatives had held talks to discuss a non-compete deal in certain ridings but they fell apart last month.

Sturko's defection means the B.C. Conservatives now have four MLAs.

A former Surrey RCMP officer, Sturko was considered a star candidate for B.C. United when she won the Surrey South byelection. Sturko and her wife Melissa have three children.

She has been a vocal critic of the government's decriminalization policy, which was walked back in April, and has raised concerns about prescription opioids being diverted to the streets.

On the weekend, NDP MLA Mable Elmore shared a social media post from Paul Ratchford, the B.C. Conservative candidate for Vancouver Point Grey, in which he called Sturko a "woke, lesbian, social justice warrior."

Asked about this, Sturko said she talked to Ratchford on the weekend and he apologized for his comments. She said she's has not abandoned the 2SLGBTQ+ community but she said the province's sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policy in schools must be reconsidered.

Last week, Damon Scrase was forced to drop out as B.C. Conservative candidate for Courtney-Comox after offensive social media posts from his past resurfaced.

Among the now-deleted posts was one in which Scrase said Pride parades have become a place where "perverts expose themselves to children for kicks."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie DeRosa

Provincial affairs reporter

Katie DeRosa is the provincial affairs reporter for CBC British Columbia. She is based in Victoria.

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