VANCOUVER - The B.C. Conservatives have mailed out letters of expulsion or censure to 15 of its members, created a "unity committee" and now hope to move beyond the internal strife that has plagued the organization, says the party's president.

Following several meetings over the weekend, the party's board announced Monday it had mailed out the letters because of ongoing calls from dissidents for a review of John Cummins' leadership in contravention of a party bylaw.

Last week, several constituency association presidents, angered by Cummins' earlier ultimatum that they get in line with his leadership or leave the party, held their own press conference, saying contributions to the party would dry up if Cummins didn't quit.

Party president Al Siebring said the disciplinary letters would arrive Tuesday or Wednesday, but he wouldn't say how many letters were for expulsion and how many were for censure.

"That's between us and our members. That's an internal matter," he said, adding none of the 15 members have been notified in advance of the correspondences.

John Crocock, a party member who was among the first to go public with complaints about Cummins' leadership, said nobody knows what's going on because the decision to send out the letters was made during a closed meeting.

An ironic development considering many in the party want more transparency, he said.

Old and new politics are dividing the party, he said, noting one side is complaining about loyalty and the fact dissidents are not towing the party line, but the dissidents are complaining about a lack of transparency.

"So when you look at the demands, then you see what's going on," he said.

The public challenge to Cummins' leadership followed two disappointing spring byelections, but last month party members gave him a 70.1 per cent leadership endorsement at the annual general meeting.

The party then lost its only sitting MLA John van Dongen, who left the B.C. Liberals to join the Conservatives but then left the Tories to sit as an independent.

Just seven months ago, the party was seriously challenging the governing B.C. Liberals in the public opinion polls.

"We have to carry on," said Siebring. "What are we going to do, fold up our tent? We have to find a way to move forward. This unity committee is certainly a good way to do that, it engages the members."

According to a party news release, Daniel Brooks, a party director, will chair the unity committee, which will include Christine Clarke, vice-president, and Dennis Belliveau, a director and experienced mediator.

The board also announced it had passed a motion, expressing its "full confidence and support" in Cummins.

"You know everybody says it's hurt us. We saw the poll late last week. We're down a little, but we're not down anywhere near as much as people would expect," said Siebring,

"It's not hurting us in our core areas. I maintain that a lot of this is a media echo chamber in the Lower Mainland. When you go to the Okanagan, they're selling memberships like crazy up there."

However, Crocock disagrees, and said he doesn't think the party will be ready for the next provincial election, even though it may make some gains in the Interior and northern Vancouver.

"There's no way that they're going to be a force to be reckoned with. That's for sure," he said.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ron Cantelon

    The MLA for Parksville-Qualicum was re-elected in 2009 and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Technology in September 2012.

  • John Slater

    John Slater, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, was elected in 2009. In January 2013, he announced he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/14/john-slater-quits-bc-liberals-boundary-similkameen_n_2474761.html?1358201798">leaving the B.C. Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent</a> after the party refused to approve his candidacy to run again.

  • Blair Lekstrom

    The Liberal MLA for Peace River South was first elected in 2001. Since 2011, he has served as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • Colin Hansen

    The MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena was elected in 1996, 2001, 2005 and 2009.

  • George Abbott

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/30/george-abbott-mary-mcneil-john-les-resign-liberals_n_1844026.html" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for Shuswap</a> was first elected in 1996. A member of the Priorities and Planning Committee and the Cabinet Committee on Families First, Abbott was appointed the Minister of Education in 2010.

  • Rob Howard

    The Liberal MLA for Richmond Centre was elected in 2009. He cited "personal reasons" for not running again.

  • John Les

    The <a href="http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CC4QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.ca%2F2012%2F08%2F30%2Fjohn-les-resigns-liberals_n_1843238.html&ei=_EFGULrjHIrM9QSVqIGQBQ&usg=AFQjCNGhfOlOO6ZJqZ4ko1aVyKTXSYiNTg" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for Chilliwack</a> was first elected in 2001. He served as parliamentary secretary, Minister of Small Business and Economic Development and Public Safety and Solicitor General.

  • Mary McNeil

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/30/george-abbott-mary-mcneil-john-les-resign-liberals_n_1844026.html" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for Vancouver-False Creek</a> was first elected in 2009. In 2011, she was appointed Minister for Children and Family Development.

  • Kevin Falcon

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/29/kevin-falcon-quits-bc-finance_n_1840174.html" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale</a> was first elected in 2001. He has served as ministers of finance, health and transportation.

  • Dave Hayer

    The Liberal MLA for Surrey-Tynehead was first elected in 2001. He served on the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

  • Joan McIntyre

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/04/rich-coleman-joan-mcintyre_n_1854981.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky</a>, who was first elected in 2005, said she always planned to serve no more than two terms.

  • Harry Bloy

    The Liberal MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed was first elected in 2001. He was the only member of the B.C. Liberal caucus to support Christy Clark's bid for the party leadership. He served as Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism.

  • Kash Heed

    The Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview was first elected in 2009. He served as minister of public safety and solicitor general.

  • Murray Coell

    The Liberal MLA for Saanich North and the Islands was first elected in 2001. He has headed the ministries of labour, environment and advanced education.

  • Kevin Krueger

    The Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson was first elected in 1996. He served as Minister of State for Mining, Minister of Small Business and Revenue and Minister of Community Development.

  • Bill Barisoff

    The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/20/bill-barisoff-penticton-mla-quits_n_1811456.html" target="_hplink">Liberal MLA for Penticton</a> was first elected in 1996. In 2005 he was named Speaker of the B.C. Legislature.

  • Gary Coons

    The North Coast NDP MLA was first elected in 2005, and again in 2009.

  • Dawn Black

    The NDP MLA of New Westminster was elected in 2009.

  • Michael Sather

    The NDP MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows was elected in 2005 and 2009. He was the Opposition critic for fisheries.

  • Randy Hawes

    The MLA for Abbotsford-Mission was first elected in 2001, and again in the 2005 and 2009 elections.

  • Diane Thorne

    The NDP MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville was elected in 2005 and again in 2009. She was the deputy opposition critic for education.

  • Guy Gentner

    The NDP MLA for Delta North was elected in 2005 and 2009.