As support dwindles for the troubled B.C. Conservative Party, the Abbotsford South riding and several others are publicly calling for leader John Cummins to resign.
"We have passed two resolutions [on Friday]. One is to ask him to resign immediately to make way for a leadership race. The other is [for the BCCP provincial executive] to call a special general meeting," to address the leadership issue, said Kevin Chapman, president of the BCCP Abbotsford South riding association.
As of Tuesday, 10 other riding associations also adopted the resolutions, and the number could reach as high as 20 to 24 ridings, he said.
Although Chapman once supported Cummins - he said he signed his nomination paperwork - he no longer can.
"We've told him, 'you took us to the foot of the mountain, now we need someone else to take us the rest of the way.' It's beyond his capabilities, " said Chapman, who has run twice for Abbotsford city council.
"Most leaders know when it's time to step aside - unfortunately he hasn't made the realization."
The BCCP enjoyed a surge in the polls early this year, eroding support from the B.C. Liberals. However, after questions arose about Cummins' $4,000 monthly salary, and after comparing himself to Jesus Christ in a media comment, public and party confidence in his leadership has slipped, said Chapman.
Party members gave Cummins a 70 per cent vote of confidence at their Sept. 22 AGM, but internal unrest continues to grow.
Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen quit the party at the AGM, saying he could not work with Cummins, and former Chilliwack candidate John Martin defected to the Liberals.
An Angus Reid poll from Friday shows 49 per cent support for the NDP, B.C. Liberals with 26, the BCCP with 16 per cent, down three points from last month.
The feud is making it difficult to raise finances and to attract new members, said Chapman.
"Finances are a huge issue," he said, predicting the party will be out of money just before the May 2013 election.
On Monday, the BCCP executive mailed 15 letters of expulsion or censure to members, and said it would create a "unity committee" to heal the internal split. Chapman said he expects such a letter, but intends to continue to speak out.
Even though airing the party's difficulties publicly is painful, he said. "As it stands we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain."
With a new leader, the party might have a chance to earn some seats in the Legislature, but he admits that "it will be a miracle for the B.C. Conservatives to become a sizeable opposition.
"And the longer Cummins holds onto the leadership, the harder it will be for a miracle to happen."