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NDP MLAs to be held accountable at emergency meeting: James

The New Democratic Party will hold an emergency caucus meeting to talk about the behaviour of NDP MLAs, leader Carole James said today.

“Every MLA will be held accountable for their behaviour,” she said. “It is time to get on with the job we need to do.”

The meeting will be held in the next few days and will include the caucus of NDP MLAs and members of the party's executive, James said. It's still to be decided whether the meeting will include labour leaders, she said.

Yesterday Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan released a statement blaming James for dividing the party.

Under James' leadership debate has been stifled, decision making centralized and individual MLAs marginalized, she said. “Many are shocked at how some critical decisions are made or how caucus decisions have been later altered.”

In October James booted Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of the NDP caucus for criticizing a speech she gave. Since that time Norm Macdonald has resigned as caucus chair and Katrine Conroy has resigned as party whip. At least 13 NDP MLAs, not including the now independent Simpson, are on record not supporting James' leadership.

Discussion and debate are always welcome in the party, James said, adding the current crisis isn't about that. “This is about whether this caucus can show we're ready to govern in British Columbia.”

The division in the NDP is a serious threat to the party, she said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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