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Premier's job big because of 'mess' Campbell left: James

Carole James spent the morning on a whirlwind tour through Metro Vancouver, hammering the BC Liberals for what she said has been eight years of neglect on the issues facing urban residents.

The BC NDP leader was still clearly buoyed by Sunday’s leaders’ debate and mentioned it at the first stop of the morning, right in the heart of the premier’s own riding.

“Gordon Campbell was right about one thing,” she told supporters.

“Leading the province will be a really big job. It will be a really big job because he has created an incredible mess in British Columbia.”

Her five-stop tour this morning targeted five different issues, picking up on the theme she has used throughout much of her campaign, including her recent trip to the Interior.

“(Earlier this week) we talked about rural neglect and the government ignoring the pressures of rural B.C.” James told reporters.

“Today we’re taking an opportunity to show right here in Metro Vancouver the neglect of Gordon Campbell.”

The NDP leader was welcomed to Vancouver-Point Grey by an energetic early-morning crowd, armed with bongo drums and whistles surrounding a dancing Mel Lehan, the NDP candidate trying to unseat the premier.

She focused on transit and promised supporters she would bring back an elected TransLink board and increase local consultation for transit projects to address the concerns of recent Skytrain construction.

“We’ve all seen an example out on Cambie, where small businesses were driven to the brink of bankruptcy,” James said. “And now it looks like the merchants on Broadway could be next. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Affordable housing and the minimum wage were the topics of the next two stops -- issues which James has used to illustrate a clear difference between her party and the Liberals.

And after a brief speech about education with Adrian Dix, one of 14 NDP candidates who managed to campaign with their leader this morning, James wrapped the morning tour in the suburban riding of Burnaby-Lougheed where she focused on seniors' care.

“It’s one of the issues I should tell you that over the past five years since being elected leader has made me so angry,” James said. “These are senior citizens who built this province and who deserve better than they’ve received from Gordon Campbell.”

James renewed her promise for increased long-term care beds and said she would appoint an independent seniors representative.

When asked by a reporter if her campaign has not focused enough on the economy, James said the issues she campaigned on this morning are vital to economic sustainability and pointed the finger back to the past eight years under the Liberals.

“I’d say let’s take a look at the premier’s record on the economy. In the good times he didn’t invest in the things that matter to families,” she said.

James rallied her supporters throughout the morning to continue their energy for the last six days of the election campaign, which she admitted to reporters has only recently picked up.

“No question it was a slow start,” she said. “But now that it’s getting down to the wire, I see people getting excited.”

Garrett Zehr reports for The Tyee.

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