(9am on September 17, 2016)
Thank you to the BC Conservative Party for allowing me to run in this election.
Today, I do not represent the 2000+ active BC Conservative Party members or the five percent of voters from the 2013 BC general election who voted for a Conservative Candidate. Rather, I represent the 95 percent of voters from across the Province who did not vote for the conservatives in 2013 who would appreciate having another option if the party addresses some of its internal structural challenges.
In my platform for this leadership election, I identify three problems that we need to address offer relevant solutions to each. I outline my platform on my website, www.jaycross.ca.
Our first problem is financial. Our Party has no money. We need money to win elections. My solution to this problem is to develop a fundraising program.
Our second problem concerns recruitment. Our Party has 2000+ members. However, 85,000 people voted for a conservative candidate in 2013. Without voters becoming members, we have no capacity for communicating or controlling our message, we lose significant membership revenue, and we lack voter input and ideas.
Lack of diversity within our party may be an explanation for why conservatives do not become Party members. Early on in this election, I learned that one of our members had left the party because the four candidates were all White. I have since met with this individual and convinced him to rejoin the Party. In fact, he has decided to run as a conservative MLA candidate in 2017. I also came across newspaper articles that suggested that the BC Conservative Party members were comprised of mostly white, elderly males.
With diversity in mind, one way that I will address Party recruitment problems is to develop and implement a Diversity and Inclusion Policy. I will also see that key Party documents translated into other languages so these documents are accessible to individuals whose first language is not English.
A third problem for this Party involves retention. Over forty percent of members who join the Party leave the Party. It is difficult to grow party at that rate. Specifically, for a party of 2000 members, it will take 16–17 years to double its size.
My solution to our retention problem is to develop a member engagement program. I will also implement exit and stay interviews.
I would like to further my points on recruitment and diversity.
This year I marched and represented our Party and diversity in the 38th annual Vancouver Pride Parade. [Show audience my parade shirt with the rainbow and "Diversity Rules" emblems.] I would like to give a shout-out to the LGBTTQ community and give thanks to the Vancouver Pride Society for putting on this event. I would also like to give a special thank–you to the Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the same–sex couples that Sister Festivus Illuminata was going to marry at the Pride Festival later that day for allowing me to march with them. I felt extremely welcomed by the Sisters and the Pride Community and proud to represent the BC Conservative Party at this important event.
I think it is important for the BC Conservative Party to support diverse communities in BC. Parades and festivals are some ways that we can do that and ways of bringing our Party to the attention of people across BC.