Earlier this month, Doug McArthur - the deputy minister to two New Democrat premiers - opined opposition caucus members weren't up to the task of "acting as a public check on government's broad and general drift into a culture of deceit." But why is that the case? Speaking on Public Eye Radio, Mr. McArthur had this to say: "My own sense is the dynamic of the caucus is not one that encourages a real kind of fighting spirit - a coordinated effort. There's not a sense that there is a single focused, concentrated effort here coming from the caucus so they can make progress. My own sense is the caucus has a kind of defeatist attitude toward what they can achieve in legislature...So I think it start there."
"The second thing, I think, is they basically aren't strategic. My own view is you have to go into these things - I don't want to be too abstract and academic about it - but you still have to have good strategies as to how you're going to achieve what you're going to do. And I don't see that. This seems to be a caucus that floats and rides with what's happening and hopes that's going to work out."
"The last thing is...usually if you have a caucus of 30 people or even 20 people, you can say, 'Here are the five or six real fighters in the caucus. Here are the people who we can identify who we see creates fear in the eyes and the hearts of this government.' And I don't see that here."
This isn't the first Mr. McArthur has criticized the New Democrats. In 2006, on Voice of BC, he noted, "We've now had a complete session with Carole James and her caucus in Opposition to the government - her new expanded caucus. The success of the Opposition has been questioned by many. The polls show that the Liberals are up significantly and the NDP is down significantly. I think we all know and appreciate that amongst New Democrats - active New Democrats - one of the questions being asked is, 'Do we have the leadership that can do the job, and can we go through to the next election with the current leadership?'"