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James vs. Simpson: Notable New Dems Choose Sides

As high profile BC NDP voices weigh in on the rift, a scorecard to keep track.

Sean Holman 10 Oct

Sean Holman is editor of the online provincial political news journal Public Eye Online. He can be reached here.

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NDP Leader James, caucus exile Simpson.

Provincial New Democrat leader Carole James's decision to kick Cariboo North legislator Bob Simpson out of caucus has touched off a major controversy within the party. So who's supporting that decision and who isn't? Well, we've compiled a list of those who have spoken out about it -- categorizing them into who's onside, who's offside, who hasn't yet responded to media requests and who has only given brief responses. The following is a complete copy.


Mike Farnworth, Port Coquitlam legislator

"...caucuses and political parties are teams and we are going in a generally same direction. A key part of that is trust. And what Bob did was break that trust in a very public way. If you have issues within political parties, you raise them within political parties and Bob chose not to do that. And when you do that, there are consequences." (CBC's The Early Edition, Oct. 7, 2010)

Rob Fleming, Victoria-Swan Lake legislator

"I think what (Mr. Simpson) did was very destructive and not constructive for what our party is going to do, which is (to) build a practical progressive alternative to the government that people will support and vote for in the next election." (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Scott Fraser, Alberni-Pacific Rim legislator

"I know Bob well and I'm quite surprised by this...Coming out of a successful UBCM, I was quite shocked by some of the stuff he wrote. But we've got a great agenda. We are developing policy and we are consulting with the people of British Columbia... and I've never seen a higher level of support for us in those battles." (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Maurine Karagianis, Esquimalt-Royal Roads legislator

"Bob has stated very clearly that he's not with us, he's not part of our team, and that's fine because either you're dedicated and loyal to your team or you're not." (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Mike Lombardi, Vision Vancouver school trustee

"I fully support Carole's action in removing Bob Simpson from the caucus. This is about more than his comments about Carole's speech to the UBCM. From my observations, from the time that Carole became leader, Mr Simpson has consistenly (sic) questioned Carole's leadership and the policy directions of the BC NDP." (, Oct. 8, 2010)

Doug McArthur, Simon Fraser University public policy professor

"He's been struggling to kind of find his feet in caucus and become a full participant in caucus. A bit of what some people call a malcontent. So he's had trouble accepting the idea that there is this discipline and team approach that's taken to a caucus." (CBC's All Points West, Oct. 7, 2010)

Marcella Munro, Earnscliffe Strategy Group Inc. senior consultant

"Basically, he publicly slapped the leader and I think he knows that. And I don't know what he was expecting. I think he knows that and I don't know what he was expecting. I think any leader in Carole's position would have had to do the same thing." (CKNW's The Christy Clark Show, Oct. 7, 2010)

Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan legislator

"I think it's unfortunate this has happened...We have a leader who works with caucus very closely and works to consensus with caucus. We come out of our caucus reunited on issues because of that approach... It's unfortunate Bob has chosen not to be a part of that." (Times Colonist, Oct. 8, 2010)

David Schreck, former premier's special advisor

"...James and her caucus are up to the challenge." (, Oct. 7, 2010)


Ruth Bain, Kamloops-South Thompson constituency association president

"I'm certainly not one of those people calling for Carole's resignation or even necessarily a leadership review... but if she wants him out of caucus she could have probably found another way of doing it that's just not quite... That wouldn't have generated the same kind of negative publicity, which this inevitably is generating." (CHNL, Oct. 7, 2010)

Corky Evans, former cabinet minister

"What Carole James has done makes no sense. The fella wrote two lines. He didn't write my leader is a failure. He wrote the speeches of the two leaders lack substance." (Public Eye, Oct. 8, 2010)

Helmut Giesbrecht, former cabinet minister

"You should be able to, as the leader, take a little bit of criticism. And even if the constituency association decided (the party) should have a leadership review that doesn't constitute enough of a reason to kick someone out. You want a little bit of thinking going on." (Public Eye, Oct. 7, 2010)

Harry Lali, Fraser-Nicola legislator

"It would be a little hypocritical of me if I were to criticize Mr. Simpson for speaking his mind cause I've done it myself." (CHNL, Oct. 7, 2010)

Tom Perry, former cabinet minister

"Leadership is not about punishing people who disagree or challenge, unless they are blatantly obstructionist. Mr. Simpson's record suggests he is better informed and more thoughtful than most MLA's, and his local support and re-election in a close riding likely derives from a good record as MLA." (Public Eye Online, Oct. 8, 2010)

Michael Sather, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows legislator

"I would have preferred that there had been a discussion with the executive about it, but I guess that's the leader's prerogative...There's not too much I can say, Matt, about what goes on in caucus. But I will say that I have to deal frequently with our supporters, who complain to me about our leadership." (Georgia Straight, Oct. 7, 2010)

Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

"BC NDP leader Carole James has made a serious error in judgement -- deciding to throw Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of the NDP caucus, allegedly over mildly critical comments he made on a Williams Lake website about her recent speech to the Union of BC Municipalities." (, Oct. 7, 2010)


Leonard Krog, Nanaimo legislator

"Carole is the leader of my party, duly elected." (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Michelle Mungall, Nelson-Creston legislator

"I support the party, support the leader and Bob's entitled to whatever opinion he has." (The Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7, 2010)

Bruce Ralston, Surrey-Whalley legislator

"I support the leader and I support the party." (The Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7, 2010)

Bill Routley, Cowichan Valley legislator

"Of course I support the party and I support Carole James." (The Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7, 2010)


John Horgan, Juan de Fuca legislator (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Lana Popham, Saanich South legislator (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)

Claire Trevena, North Island legislator (Times Colonist, Oct. 7, 2010)  [Tyee]

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