Thursday, October 07, 2010

Carole James turfs NDP MLA from caucus

“Through his public comments today, Mr. Simpson has made it clear that he would rather criticize our work than contribute to it. He has made it clear that he does not want to be part of our team,”-- NDP Leader Carole James explaining her thoughts regarding the dismissal of an NDP MLA from the party caucus on Wednesday.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson will sit as an Independent and lose his affiliation with the NDP caucus in Victoria.  That move comes after NDP Leader Carole James exiled him from the NDP after his less than complimentary comments regarding Ms. James talking points and performance at the recent UBCM gathering in Whistler.

Mr. Simpson's departure comes after he authored a web article ruminating on the recent UBCM meetings, where he offered up a number of critiques of the main speakers at last week's gathering.

Where he appears to have gotten into trouble with his now former NDP compatriots was when he included a review of Ms. James' leadership style at the meeting.

His  full commentary under the title of Politicking for the press, can be found the on the Williams Lake portal,, the portion which put the Leader of the Opposition into exile mode went as follows:

The Leader of the Opposition likewise had little concrete to offer the delegates other than a commitment to be more consultative than the current government and a promise to explore the possibility of revenue sharing with local governments. This is a timely concept which has the potential to address the resource needs of local governments, but the lack of specifics was a disappointment to delegates.

The NDP leader felt that his comments indicated a less than team orientated approach to the NDP cause, observing that Mr. Simpson would rather would rather criticize  the work of the party than contribute to it.

It would seem however, that it wasn't just his online contributions in Williams Lake that contributed to his departure, Simpson also found himself in a bit of hot water with party officials over his call that the leader should step down from her position, with the prospect of a motion asking for that possibly to be introduced at the NDP convention next month.

The NDP caucus was informed of the decision to ask him to leave on Wednesday.  So far caucus members have had little to offer publicly regarding her decision to send their co-worker into exile.

Simpson was the party's aboriginal relations and reconciliation  critic and had served as the riding's MLA since 2005, he will now sit as one of two Independent MLA's in the Legislature.

Ms. James leadership has been the subject of a number of reviews in British Columbia's media of late, reviews that observe that there may be some unresolved internal dissension within the NDP over her style and the direction she is taking for the party.

Carole James: A credible premier-in-waiting?
Carole James's biggest problem may be within her own party 
Concerns being raised from within NDP about Carole James Leadership
Even the faithful are wavering
James failing to exploit Liberal disarray, pollster says

Judging by Wednesday's decision, the leader would appear to be heading off some of that dissent before it festers further and perhaps even grows larger.

What will be interesting to watch over the months to come is if more NDP MLA's think out loud as Mr. Simpson did and suffer the consequences, or if any further dissent remains muted and in the long term more dangerous.

Dangerous not only for the leader, but for the party's fortunes in the next election.

Globe and Mail-- B.C. NDP leader ejects critic from caucus
Vancouver Sun-- NDP leader Carole James removes MLA from caucus B.C. NDP leader kicks out Cariboo MLA
The Tyee-- Online comments critical of Carole James cost BC New Democrat his caucus seat

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