Mushy around the middle?

Last year, provincial New Democrat supporters Doug McArthur and Bill Tieleman questioned the party's performance in the legislature. And, speaking on Public Eye Radio yesterday morning, former New Democrat government caucus communications director Brad Zubyk also raised concerns about the future of the party. Said Mr. Zubyk, "This is what you get when you have - for the first time in history - an Opposition party whose strategic direction is entirely based on 'let's be nice.' They remind me sometimes of a kid trying to be on his best behaviour so his parents buy him a bike then they do a political party trying to solicit votes. And there's a lack of vision and leadership in there. And it creates a culture where you don't want to make a decision."

So is it time for the New Democrats to change their leader? "I don't know what it's time for. But they've got to get a game on and stop pretending that being nice is going to win them one more vote. They're eight to ten points behind (in the public opinion polls) in year two. I mean it's a lack of respect. You've watched question period, the government doesn't respect them. The government members have a lot of fun. You've seen it. You're down there."

"They won't take a position on anything," he continue. "The narrative we're talking about right now is emerging. So I guess the question is, 'Do you want to be absolutely useless but nice? Or do you want to actually function like an Opposition and function like someone who wants to win government and maybe make friends?'"

Mr. Zubyk said New Democrat strategists often tell him the party's public opinion negatives are low. But that's not surprising given the Opposition "doesn't say anything. (Former American president Bill) Clinton's negatives were high. (Former prime minister Jean) Chretien's negatives were high. (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper's negatives were high. And guess what? They all win. So they really need to give this thing a look and make some changes."

26 Comments

I think 'NDP' and 'useless' go hand in hand. The reason they are so bad in the polls is because people saw how "effective" the NDP was as a government in power, so there's no surprise they bite the big one as an opposition. And to top it off, Carole James isn't exactly what you'd call inspiring, even if you are a raving socialist.

Carole James is doing the best she can with what she has. On issues such as the Tsawwassen Treaty and Gateway, she is stalling on making a judgement call because several MLAs are in entrenched, contrary positions from which they have neither the willingness nor even the basic moxie to extract themselves. And they have supporters in the party rank and file and in labour in some cases, such as the CAW bus driver's local opposing Port Mann and Hwy 1.

Personally, I think Zubyk is just being a wise guy and a smart ass on this one. There is simply no substance to what he is saying, and his comparisons to Clinton and Chretien polling data are silly. These were people who were in office, not in Opposition.

The thing Carol James needs, is the same thing Dave Barrett, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark needed and didn't have either. Friends in the media.

But is this really all that surprising? Zubyk and Tieleman--that vintage of New Democrat back roomer, get it. How does anyone expect that kind of reason and logic to permeate Carole or Perry, who continues to run interference against any "inappropriate" MLA messaging?

People think Gordon won't let anyone in Cabinet shine their own apple?

Nonsense!

Carole James has essentially shut down her caucus in favour of her own forays infront of the cameras.

Dix, to his credit, is carrying the caucus on his bloody back. You can just tell he doesn't give a sniff for what's dripping out of the Carole's Politburo--and good for him.

Good on Zubyk for calling a spade, a spade. Carole James is to the BC NDP what Audrey Mcgaughlin was to the Federal NDP. And we all know how that turned out. Carole, David Perry, Mary O'Donohue, Jim Rutkowski, Raj Sihota and rest of the senior staff have re-styled the NDP as party that can't take a stand on the most basic issues. Look at the $10 minimum wage. The NDP can't even take a stand on a basic, core party value. We need James out and Dix, Farnworth or Evans in...and quick.

(takes deep breath)

OMG CAROLE JAMES IS SUCH A TERRIBLE LEADER WE NEED TO GET RID OF HER RIGHT NOW!

...there, I feel much better. That should get it out of my system until the next time a similar story gets posted on this website, in another few weeks or days or so.

;)

How does anyone expect that kind of reason and logic to permeate Carole...

It would seem that the brand of logic A. G. Tsakumis is refering to is good ol' boy thinking, ... back-slapping, cigar-smoking, scotch-sipping, self-congradulatory BullShit.

The truth, as Tsakumis well knows, is that Carole James led the NDP to a stronger popular vote showing than in any provincial general election since 1986, more that either Harcourt or Clark achieved. For the political junkies, Bob Skelly got 42.6% in 1986, Mike Harcourt got 40.71% in 1991, Glen Clark got 39.45% in 1996, and in 2005 Carole James got 41.52%.

Recently I've had to change my tune about the do-nothing New Democrats.

When they finally presented their SEVENTY QUESTIONS about the B.C. Rail affair, I had to admit that they were excellent questions presented with brilliant timing.

The two most vital questions were:

1) Why is the government withholding documents needed to defend Basi, Virk, and Basi? (And I had thought, all along, that the Special Prosecutor had free access to whatever documents required!)

2) Will the government commit to a Public Inquiry as soon as the criminal proceedings end?

The date for presentation of the SEVENTY QUESTIONS is April 16, the start of the 3-week pre-trial hearing which, let's hope, launches the B.C. Rail (Basi, Virk, Basi) trial at long last.

I say "Well done, Opposition." (But yes, I really do wish they showed a little more zip in the Legislature. Although, when you read Hansard, you see it's not quite as tame as the CanWest media -- by their silence -- make us think it is.)

BC Mary
http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/

Looking at this from another angle, it's a case where the interests of potential leadership contenders and outside critics of the party align, albeit on a fairly superficial level.

So you get a bunch of people from outside the party saying "yes, yes, Carole James' leadership is a very serious problem," because they don't mind the prospect of the party tearing itself apart between now and 2009.

The motives of the insiders are a bit more tangled. I guess some of them are impatient -- they know that if James loses the next election, a leadership contest will soon follow. But to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, they love her as a loser, but they're worried that she just might win. And all things being equal, they'd rather have a leadership race now, rather than risk having to wait until the NDP's been in power for one or two terms. Even though that means blowing up the bridge with two years left until the next election. The instinct of NDPers for obtaining power, and subsuming internal rivalries in the pursuit of that goal, is perhaps not as high as it is in parties like the federal Liberals, who are more used to being in power.

On the chance that James actually does lead the NDP to victory in the next election, I don't expect the backstabbing to stop. Mike Harcourt would have a bit to say on that topic....

Budd,

Yes Carole James is a nice lady who delivered a strong popular vote back in 2005. I suspect I don’t need to remind you that Gordon Campbell delivered a strong popular vote back in 1996 as well.

But unless you are happy being in opposition, you need to move beyond and get enough votes to form government. Zubyk is only stating the obvious. And even you have to admit that taking over a year to figure out where you stand on the Port Mann expansion is piss poor by any standard. Likewise the inability to take a position on the Tsawwassen treaty is equally as troubling. What is worse; is that when Carole James does make a decision like supporting the MLA pay raises or supporting her former school trustee friend Louise Burgart for Electoral Boundaries; the moment there is any criticism she folds like a cheap deck of cards and flip flops on the issue.

I think Carole James is sincerely a nice person, but as Zubyk accurately points out, nice doesn’t cut it. I’ll go so far as to say that Dix and Farnworth are currently the horses carrying the NDP cart and as much as us right wingers would love to see Carole James stick around; she is not getting the job done.

So a few journalists want to see a rat pack run byCarole James doing their thing in the house. But there doesn't seem to be much of a "let's tar and feather her" coming from the rank and file. I believe the folks are trying to get some column inches an would be happy to see MLA's tossed out of the house.I watch or record question period most days and the lines of questions show passion and conviction. Some of the folks are getting quite good in their critic roles. Some won't be stars but most sure beat the group of trained seals Gordon has in his back benches. The Health Minister and the Forest Minister bluster a lot but say little. So what's the opposition to do? Offer to go outside and beat them up? This week a seniors home was getting shut down against the wishes of the folks and the town. So our government puts security guards at the entrances, locked the doors and refuses to let the family members in to help the residents. The local MLA was refused entry and Minister Abbott figured that was quite OK. The premier it seems has no interest in discussng such events. Raw logs made it to question period and the Forest Minister tried to convince himself that all the folks complaining must be opposition supporters because they are struggling to keep their jobs. Liberal MLA's with forestry issues say nothing.

"Who Will Rid Us Of This Woman ?"

I'm willing to bet that if Carole got brave, went to Hawaii and then got shitfaced drunk before climbing into a borrowed SUV and careening into a police check, at 2 in the morning, she'd still be getting lots of press.

Too bad for Gordo. His try for infamy sort of died after his apology and now everyone's forgotton how cool he was that early morning.

Life's just not fair.

Budd,

With all due respect to your shiny figures...Carole James did an admirable job in the last campaign, as much as the Liberal braintrust did a lousy job navigating the campaign. It was just as much a matter of her beating the bushes as it was the 'let's be nice' campaign for the Victorian Libs.

And by the way, what have you got against cigar-smoking and whiskey (preferably bourbon) swilling backroomers???

I take pride in my pedigree.....

And by the way, what have you got against cigar-smoking and whiskey (preferably bourbon) swilling backroomers???

I take pride in my pedigree.....

Arbitrarily dismissing the facts around the popular vote performance, and insisting that a certain group of approved commentators are qualified to say what the real scores are is such a patently absurd line of argument that it begs an explanation. Mr Tsakumis, I think your purported judgement on Carole's leadership and that of others is a straight case of sexism, nothing more.

Hmmm.

Obsucrantist, I think you're earned your handle with the above posting. Very cryptic.

No. It is more than that it is a unified flowing and transmuting whole: discourse.

So, I think, your idea that "communication" although relatively well concieved as multi-directional, still allows for the potential for uni-directional, and therefore potentially hierarchical relationships, because it is possible for one persons to tell someone else something, without recognition of the inter-textual relationship between the persons.

It is possible to "communicate an order to someone," but not to "discourse an order to someone," because the one way communication allows for "orders" but relations in the disourse are defined by mutuality, and orders depend on a potential for lack of mutuality, while communication provides a space for that.

I think.

Come to think of it, it is highly unlikely that "word" exists as "used" by an "individual," since a word, for instance the word "word," requires a reciever to have meaning in the discourse. Once it is liberated from its intent and enters the discourse it is free to have meaning, and often gets lost and forages around and finds a new meaning.

Such was the case with my dear departed friend overegoization.

Words change, but I think it is highly unlikely they exist until recieved. At least as far as you should be concerned.

Zubyk's comments are right on the mark. Hiding Carole worked prior to the 2005 election but it won't work again. Things are different than in 2003 -- we can attract a decent leader now. Time for a leadership convention.

Things are different than in 2003 -- we can attract a decent leader now.

LOL! Please, ... the suspense is killing me. Isn't Time to Get Rid of Carole just a fancy name for Mike Farnworth Promoter?

Wrongo, Billy Budd.

You. Are. Strange.

Stalk-a-doodle-doo!

Wrongo, Billy Budd.

You. Are. Strange.

Stalk-a-doodle-doo!

Posted by Time to Get Rid of Carole on April 3, 2007

You're calling me strange?

It doesn't make a bit of difference what the NDP do or don't do. Budd Campbell said it all...the NDP don't have friends (or friends of friends and insiders) in the media. Delta held a rally, last Saturday, against the Gateway project presently proposed , which had over 1,000 people attend. (granted not all at once) The two second clip on the news noted 500. Kevin Falcon has stated that Delta will have the second largest truck route in BC, when all is said and done. But, we're to take into consideration that 75% to 80% of the traffic will be commuters. Then how many trucks will this mean???? Plans won't be changed at this point, it's a done deal we're told. Take a drive down River Road and see how much "prime location" industrial land is for sale. It would suddenly not be worth much if this road wasn't permitted to go through Burns Bog. Also, stated by our current government is that jobs in the "health sector" will be going up. And there is absolutely no shame, in that they admit this will be due to added health problems, due to pollution, etc. For those who think that the Liberals are working "for us", read the Hansard reports. You can see in their own words, the lack of interest they have in any opinions (or health) of the great majority of people of this province. Fraser Valley residents, put your houses up for sale now. Not only will you be getting more of our smog..... A representitive of one of the three port authorities that are joining together has said that no dredging has been/is being done in the ravines or small creeks branching off the Fraser River. There goes your natural storm sewer... and maybe a few extra houses once the snow melts.

I'll take Mike Farnworth over "Silent Carole" any day!!!

Delta held a rally, last Saturday, against the Gateway project presently proposed , which had over 1,000 people attend. (granted not all at once) The two second clip on the news noted 500. Kevin Falcon has stated that Delta will have the second largest truck route in BC, when all is said and done. But, we're to take into consideration that 75% to 80% of the traffic will be commuters.

Tell me, Disgusted in Delta, where did you get this figure that 75% to 80% of the traffic will be commuters? From SPEC perhaps? And tell me this. If commuters are going to work, to do a job, to earn wages and engage in productive activity, can you explain to me how that is wasteful?

The number one reason why the NDP is trailing in the polls is the same reason it lost so many elections in the 1950s and 1960s to WAC Bennett and Phil Gaglardi, and the same reason it lost the 1979 election to Bill Bennett. The party's reflexive opposition to highways, dressed up as some fake environmentalism, is not supported by the general public and certainly not by working class voters.

I mentioned the 1979 election specifically for a reason. The issue then was the Annacis Island Bridge, which Social Credit campaigned on and which the NDP Opposition "naturally" opposed. Now guess what. The plans for that structure were first put together during the NDP's term in office from 1972 to 1975, and were going to be rolled out in the planned 1976 election as the party's showcase project for the southern suburbs, to help NDP MLAs of the time such as Carl Liden [Delta], Harold Steeves [Richmond], and Ernie Hall [Surrey].

But then Dave Barrett suddenly and rather inexplicably called the election for December 1975. The project wasn't ready to go public, and so it was left on the shelf for Bill Bennett to sit on for three years before using it to win the 1979 election. Does this help you understand history of your area, and the politics around highways any better, Disgusted in Delta?

Voters see the NDP's reflexive opposition to "blacktop government" as opposition to economic growth, job creation and wage increases. In the case of Gateway, they are right. Billions of dollars of trade with Asia, actual and potential, are involved, not only from BC but across the nation. Canada's international competitiveness is at stake in terms of delivery times and volumes. This is a national project, the Trans Canada Hwy after all, not some local-yokel public work.

Budd's right - and im a die hard NDPer

Bud Campbell wrote:
Tell me, Disgusted in Delta, where did you get this figure that 75% to 80% of the traffic will be commuters? From SPEC perhaps?
Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
(Hansard)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007
Afternoon Sitting
Volume 17, Number 5
Page 6584 (1805)
Hon. K. Falcon: I hope I didn't leave the impression with the member that there is not commuter traffic being utilized on South Fraser perimeter road. My goodness. Of course there will probably be a very significant amount. I don't know the exact amount — probably 75 percent to 80 percent. But the primary beneficiary…. In fact, the day this opens it will be the second-busiest truck route in British Columbia.

Page 6586 (1815)
G. Gentner: My question is, of course, on the air impacts. We know that when you look at all the technical volumes that have been submitted on the Gateway program, it suggests there in volume 16, page 51: "Human health is the second-largest category impacted by the Gateway program." We look further in volume 16, page 39: "With increased air pollution there can possibly be increased employment in the health sector because of the economic activity associated with correcting the results of its impacts."
It's quite a long list here, regarding the concerns of notable schools close by. Here is another one…. I can go on and on and on, quite frankly, on some of the concerns that are being reached in the environmental assessment.
How does the South Fraser perimeter road work with the ministry's carbon reduction program that seemed to be said in the throne speech — other than this concept about stopping the idling of trucks — when we have a technical volume here from the environmental assessment office saying that we're going to see an increase in carbon, particularly of diesel particulate, once it's completed?
Hon. K. Falcon: The member opposite may not be aware that we actually spent quite considerable time the other day canvassing these issues of air quality vis-à-vis Gateway programs. The member might want to refer to some of the transcripts, in the interest of time.
What I can say to the member is that he's reading selective excerpts from the reports. I think that the member has to be careful not to do that, because what he does, as some of the folks there have tried to do, is he takes selective excerpts, some of which are general statements about highway and impacts on air quality generally — not the South Fraser perimeter road — and they're trying to apply those to the South Fraser perimeter road.
The important thing for the member to know is there is virtually no impact on air quality as a result of the Gateway program. The other thing the member should know is that when he talks about diesel particulates, he should read that in its entirety. What it really is saying is that obviously when you put a road into an area where there wasn't a road, yes, there is an increase in diesel particulate. Clearly there would be, just as in other communities like Ladner. When you move a road and you move traffic off of where trucks were formerly going, there is less diesel particulate
This has to be one of the most arrogant (and stupid) statements I have ever heard.
Bud Campbell wrote: And tell me this. If commuters are going to work, to do a job, to earn wages and engage in productive activity, can you explain to me how that is wasteful?
My issue was not WHAT the road was being used for. The question Falcon was asked was “how many trucks will use the SFPR. “ He choose to avoid the actual question therefore performing a most effective re-focus (it worked for you)
It is this particular part of the GATEWAY project that is offensive not the building of a perimeter road. We NEED this. Just not where it’s slatted to be. Not one job will be lost, and the same ones created by doing this right. The Hoover-Naas proposal would be a good start.. There has been NO public consultation. Let me say that again….NONE. All Delta has been given is town hall meetings in order to TELL us what is being done.
When the Nordel Highway and bridge were built, North Delta was told it would increase truck traffic by approx. 400 trucks per day. Guess what? The reality was 4,0000 more, and heavy truck traffic is expected to grow 63% by 2021.
There is a 17 line railway being planned, not far from residential neightbourhoods. The roads themselves will be within 500 metres of quite a few elementary schools.

The Alex Fraser bridge, built to combat congestion on Highways 1 and 99, was expected to take seven years to reach capacity. It was congested within nine months.
Bud Campbell said:
I mentioned the 1979 election specifically for a reason. The issue then was the Annacis Island Bridge, which Social Credit campaigned on and which the NDP Opposition "naturally" opposed. Now guess what. The plans for that structure were first put together during the NDP's term in office from 1972 to 1975, and were going to be rolled out in the planned 1976 election as the party's showcase project for the southern suburbs, to help NDP MLAs of the time such as Carl Liden [Delta], Harold Steeves [Richmond], and Ernie Hall [Surrey].
If I may use someone else’s words……Situations change. We have a project that was conceived 20 years ago in the '80s. We're now into the 21st century, and modes of transportation have changed.
I got a good laugh out of this one:
Bud Campbell said: The number one reason why the NDP is trailing in the polls is the same reason it lost so many elections in the 1950s and 1960s to WAC Bennett and Phil Gaglardi,
First off it was the CCF, not the NDP. However, the number one reason why so many elections where lost to Wacky Bennett is because of the stunts he pulled in the ‘50’s. Where you around then??? I’ll give YOU some history. Representatives of the Liberal, Conservative, CCF and the fledging Social Credit spent six months travelling around BC, into every city, town and burg to find out what “the people needed”. Two weeks before they were to return, Bennett “didn’t feel well” and said that he would go back to Kelowna and meet the rest in Victoria. He promised not to discuss what they had learned. He then when straight to Victoria ……what were the rest to do? Say, yeah we’ll “do that too”? And then there was the late 50’s, when the CCF got the most popular vote but the SC had ONE more seat. Ever heard of the single transferable ballot? In the long run the ONLY reason that the CCF didn’t form a HUGE majority was because Harold Winch (leader) and the entire CCF backed allowing the franchise (to vote) to the Chinese and East Indians. The others, very verbally, did not. So how many nationalities is it now, that are being apologized to due to this kind of attitude?
Back to Gateway, then I give up. Do your own research
§ To meet the requirements of container yards, rail yards, rail upgrades, 1,000 acres of farmland are needed to come out of the Agricultural Land Reserve. Since this will not be allowed, under law, the land was awarded to the Tswassen First Nations are part of a treaty agreement. They don’t have to follow “the rules”and have already agreed to rent the land to the Port Authority. Delta has some of the best farming soil in BC. (had, soon)
§ A 2006 Washington State Environmental Protection Agency study of cancer-causing pollution found..”with only a few exceptions the most unhealthful air in the state is found in neighbourhoods near ports”
§ The Guardian, January 2007, reporting on a recent study in California by the Keck School of Medicine stated: “The study is the first to link permanent lung damage, which can shorten life expectancy, to traffic pollution”
Do you understand the magnitude of what is being done, with absolutely NO due process, Bud? Or should I just understand that, to you, billions of dollars of trade with Asia, actual or potential, is worth more than human lives. This verson of "a plan" is NOT a national project, it's close to local genocide once it gets to this end.

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