Source: Conservative Party of BC

Former NDP MLA Gwen O’Mahony will be running under the B.C. Conservative party’s banner in the next provincial election this year.

She served as an NDP MLA for Chilliwack—Hope from 2012 to 2013 after winning a byelection and will now represent Nanaimo—Lanzville as the Conservative candidate in the riding.

In a video posted on X by the Conservative Party of B.C., O’Mahony announced why she no longer supports the provincial NDP government of British Columbia. She said the NDP has changed, not her.

O’Mahony spoke to True North over the phone to discuss her exodus from the NDP.

“I am still the same person,” O’Mahony said. “I’m the same Gwen, with the same values. The Left left me.”

O’Mahony was originally drawn to the NDP because she had a traditional working-class family who always supported the party.

“My family and I saw the NDP as the people who are champions for us, the working class, concerned about affordability and universal healthcare.”

But she no longer sees it that way. She believes the B.C. NDP has demonstrated that it no longer prioritizes the working class.

“If we look at the most recent policies, let’s look at the carbon tax, for example. That’s increasing the cost of living for people here in British Columbia.”

According to a Leger study in 2023, most British Columbians spent more than 50% of their income on housing.

“Right now, in the midst of an affordability crisis, the last thing British Columbians need is yet another expense,” O’Mahony said.

She said she believes in the B.C. Conservatives now because, with them, she can fight for issues that matter to her, such as safety, affordability, health care and personal freedom.

“I really like a lot of their (Conservative) policies that they’re developing right now. Most importantly, I like the fact that you can have frank conversations with the party members and the party leader.”

According to polls from 338Canada, they project a 99% chance the Nanaimo—Lanzville riding remains an NDP stronghold.

O’Mahony began feeling ostracized by her former party for bringing up issues which mattered to her.

She said both her local MLA and MP ignored her after she called to set up a meeting to discuss the new drug policies the province was introducing.

She personally witnessed six overdoses and felt stirred to call her representatives.

“I used to be an MLA, so I know how it works,” she said. “People can make an appointment with their elected member, and they can slot some time in and have a conversation, and it’s usually the best way to do it.”

In the message she sent to them, she clearly stated who she was and that she wanted to discuss some important issues, and it wouldn’t take longer than half an hour.

Both representatives have attended O’Mahony’s events in the past.

“I was just surprised. that the local representatives wouldn’t even take a meeting,” she said.“I didn’t get a callback. Nothing, which was really bizarre to me, and I just realized they don’t want to know.”

“When you raise issues or concerns, you’re either ridiculed, downplayed or ignored,” she said.

O’Mahony also felt betrayed by her former party when she received a routine fundraising call from the party.

“They said, ‘Hey, we know we’ve seen that you get money in the past, and they’re asking for you to dig down and do it again,” she said.

According to O’Mahony, fundraising calls are a perfect time to let your party know how you feel about them.

In the case of the B.C. NDP, O’Mahony knows that the party notes and “pays attention” to concerns on these calls.

So when they called, she told them she was withholding additional donations until the party could “work on some issues.”

One of the issues she was advocating for was transgender prisons or adding a trans wing to current prisons to address safety concerns from female prisoners.

As she continued to list her concerns such as rising crime and SOGI in schools, the caller told her they couldn’t take any more notes and would get back to O’Mahony before disconnecting the call.

She didn’t receive a call until weeks later when they were again looking for donations. She raised the issue again with a similar result.

O’Mahony suspects her reputation with the party was tarnished after she moderated a panel in Nanaimo, BC, last October. The panel discussed gender identity ideology, safety in women’s spaces, and parental rights.