Since being elected leader of the provincial New Democrats, Carol James has consistently refused to answer questions about whether she wants to move the party to the centre. Instead, Ms. James has said she favours a "balanced approach" to politics - which members of the chattering classes have simply assumed means she's a centrist. Not so, it seems.
During an appearance last month at the Hospital Employees' Union's summer school, which was recorded for posterity by Working TV, an agitated member of the sisterhood informed Ms. James that "through the election and post-election, it's been said that you're going to be moving to the centre and not being so closely associated with the working people or the unions in particular. I caution you, if that's the case, don't bite the hand that feeds you. I worked 18 hours a day to get you back where you are, as well as my brothers and sisters. And we expect you to be in bed with us." So what was Ms. James's response to this rather direct question?
Chortling happily, the New Democrat leader said, "Thank you. And just to clarify it's the press who continually try to point which direction the party is going. And I think they'd love to have everybody in the province move from the middle to the right, to the way right. It's the direction the media love to push. People who've heard me answer this question know that I'm always very clear that what I'm talking about is a balanced, commonsense approach. It doesn't have anything to do with moving left, middle or right. It says that we all should work together and there's some basic, fundamental values we believe in which includes respecting working people in this province. And that's always going to be there in this party." The audience's response: enthusiastic applause.
Bonus point: astute Public Eye readers will note other politicians blaming the media these days also include the Campbell administration's flappable Children and Family Development Minister Stan Hagen, whom Opposition member Adrian Dix seems to be taking particular delight in torturing.