Tieleman blasts party leader for removing Simpson

24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman is blasting provincial New Democrat leader Carole James's decision to boot Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of caucus. In a posting on his blog, Mr. Tieleman - who was the communications director for former premier Glen Clark - wrote Ms. James "has made a serious error in judgement" that will make her "leadership a central issue of debate in public...A more sensible approach would have been to either ignore Simpson's remarks altogether or to suspend him from critic duties while maintaining his caucus membership." Mr. Simpson published an o-ed yesterday criticizing the New Democrat leader's speech to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual general meeting.

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Bill Tieleman has always been a strict believer is absolutely rigid party disipline. The latest examples were his columns on the gun registry issue where he called NDP MPs who voted for C391 "gutless", and basically ordered Jack Layton to impose the strictest discipline since Captain Bligh. He specifically exhorted his followers to go after Nathan Cullen and Bruce Hyer with threats of cancelled donations, etc.

He took a similar attitude three years ago on the Tsawwassen Treaty. While he agreed with the position taken by dissenting MLA Micheal Sather, he was even more adamant that there should have been no free vote. The party simply should have gone in the other direction. And then imposed the same heavy duty discipline on any Tsawwassen Treaty supporters that they did on Sather!

Truly incredible. Tieleman's approach to democracy makes Stephen Harper look like a "hang loose" kind of guy.

But then, that's the credo of the "hardball" political consultant. MPs and MLAs are supposed to be just voting tokens controlled by the party leader. The party leaders are in turn controlled by, ... you guessed it, ... the "hardball" political consultants like Tieleman and Patrick Kinsella.

It's really too bad that old CBC drama starring Warren Davis, called 'The Insurance Man from Ingersoll', is locked away in some CBC film basement. It's a TV drama that today's voters should watch, and be horrified to realize that in thirty years nothing has improved.

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