Former BC Liberal leadership contender and current BC United MLA Ellis Ross is set to launch a bid for the federal Conservatives.

True North has learned that Ross is expected to officially declare his intent to run for the Conservatives in the northwest B.C. riding of Skeena—Bulkley Valley on Wednesday.

This announcement follows his unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party in 2021, where he lost to Kevin Falcon, leading to the party’s rebranding as BC United.

The Conservatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Ross’ candidacy from True North, but shortly after this article was published, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre posted about Ross’ nomination on social media.

“Thrilled to have former Haisla Nation Chief and current MLA as our Common Sense Conservative candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley (sic),” Poilievre wrote. “(Ross) will always fight for his people’s right to develop resources, keep their hunting rifles & earn powerful paycheques that buy affordable food & homes.”

Leader Pierre Poilievre is currently campaigning in British Columbia and is scheduled to hold a rally in Prince Rupert, which is in Skeena—Bulkley Valley, Tuesday evening.

During the BC Liberal leadership race, Ross was at odds with his party over the disqualification of conservative activist Aaron Gunn from the leadership contest. Gunn was recently nominated as the federal Conservative candidate for North Island—Powell River. 

Expressing dissent, Ross penned a letter urging the Leadership Election Organizing Committee to greenlight Gunn’s candidacy, though Gunn was eventually barred from the race due to what the BC Liberals said were controversial opinions.

Ross, who entered provincial politics in 2017, quickly ascended in influence and profile. Former premier Christy Clark appointed him to the cabinet, where he assumed the roles of Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing.

Notably, Ross, also the Chief Councillor for the Haisla Nation, played a pivotal role in securing a $50 million agreement with Kitimat LNG for the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant.

In February 2023, Ross made headlines by expressing his support for a diverse range of opinions in the legislature after fellow MLA John Rustad left BC United to join and lead the BC Conservative Party. 

Since then, Ross has witnessed a small exodus from his party, with former BC United MLA Bruce Banman also making the switch to the BC Conservatives.

“I think the more opinions we get in this house, I think the better discussion and debates we have,” remarked Ross at the time, while saying he would stay on with BC United for the time being. 

Since then, the BC Conservatives have managed to poll ahead of the Liberals. According to a poll from December, the BC Conservatives were polling at 26%, while BC United polled only at 17%. 

Skeena—Bulkley Valley has been held by the NDP since it was formed in 2004, although the Conservatives only lost the riding by 2,400 votes in the 2021 election.