Ex-minister calls for New Democrat leadership race

"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." That's what former provincial New Democrat cabinet minister Helmut Giesbrecht told us when asked about party leader Carole James's decision to expel Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson from the opposition caucus. Speaking exclusively with Public Eye, Mr. Giesbrecht also said it's time for the party to replace Ms. James.

"I do a lot of talking at places like Tim Hortons with people that are generally NDP supporters and some aren't. But they all seem to agree there's certainly lack of leadership that's not very good in terms of a contest. So I think it's probably about time the party had a good at the leadership issue and see whether or not they can turn things around," explained Mr. Giesbrecht, who represented the riding of Skeena.

"I'm a social democrat through and through. I was a member for 35 years. And I really couldn't tell anybody what the actual policies of the NDP are today. There's a lack of vision that I think needs to be addressed. And they need somebody to be able to communicate issues and define what they are and what makes them different and I don't see that."

"Quite frankly, and this is the other thing about being up north, we never hear about Carole James very much. You catch the odd 30-second soundbite on the news and stuff like that and it always sounds the same. It doesn't grab you. I think it's a general feeling from most of the people I associate with that she hasn't got it."

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