Defections normal, says Cantelon

Parksville-Qualicum MLA doesn’t expect any more Liberals to jump ship

MLA Ron Cantelon: the NDP lost some people as well.

MLA Ron Cantelon: the NDP lost some people as well.

When John van Dongen rose in the legislature to announce his defection from the BC Liberal party, the move didn’t come as a surprise to Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon.

“John didn’t totally surprise me,” Cantelon said. “He got quite emotionally involved in a couple of issues and was unhappy for quite some time. John put it to us as a personal decision and I view it that way.”

Cantelon, who sat as caucus chair until the last cabinet shuffle, said he has a good sense of the mood of the rest of the Liberal MLAs and he doesn’t expect any more defections.

“It was one individual with a personal situation,” he said. “It was certainly not driven by poilcy. He voted for the budget and for Bill 22 and seemed happy with the programs we were doing.”

Cantelon stressed he has no intention of following van Dongen’s lead.

“That’s the farthest thing from my mind,” he said.

Overall, Cantelon said he doesn’t think the defection to the BC Conservatives will make much of a difference in the political landscape of the province.

“I think it’s a normal part of the political process,” he said. “As I recall, the NDP lost a couple as well.”