Rita Johnston said today she'd be "inclined" to take out a provincial Conservative membership "if they can pull it together." Speaking exclusively with Public Eye, the former Socred premier said she hopes that happens "otherwise we should try to find a tea party because I think the Liberals are in big do-do and I could never vote for the NDP. So I'm hoping there's going to be an alternative."
During our interview, Ms. Johnston did credit Premier Gordon Campbell for his hard work during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. "A weaker person wouldn't have been able to keep up the pace he kept up to help promote this province. And he was sure in there. He's not lazy."
But, that being said, "There's so many things that Gordon has done wrong...I don't see how he can recover from all these screw-ups. And this one - whether or not the (harmonized sales tax) is good or not - the way he did it was just so deceitful. People don't forgot those kind of things."
Nor was she particularly complimentary toward her own provincial representative - Liberal Eric Foster. "We've got a MLA up here - who I don't believe I have ever met - but his attitude is one of absolute arrogance, like I know better. There's more signatures on (the anti-HST petition) in the Vernon area than people who voted for the man...That seems to be the attitude of some of them - it's arrogance."
By contrast, Ms. Johnston said "there was nothing deceitful" about what Bill Bennett did when he was premier. "People either liked what he did or didn't like. They could never accuse him of lying about anything."
"I guess because I'm so disgusted with the Liberals it won't take much for a centre party to get organized for me to support them," she stated, later adding the voters would "just have to wait to see" whether someone with "as much energy as (former premier) Bill Vander Zalm" steps forward to lead the Conservatives.
"I certainly don't. But somebody is going to have as much energy as he's had to try to pull either another party or the Conservatives forward and show there is some responsible people out there that are prepared to work and get it going."