James deploys lines of defence

Cariboo North legislator Bob Simpson has had concerns with the direction the New Democrats are headed in for sometime. Party leader Carole James provided him with an opportunity to address those concerns internally - an opportunity he didn't take. And now he's no longer with the opposition, just as he left the Liberals years earlier. The above statements summarize what had become, by yesterday evening, Ms. James's principal lines of defence against the controversy surrounding her decision to expel Mr. Simpson from the opposition caucus. This, after he penned an op-ed criticizing her speech to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual general meeting. Those lines were deployed during Ms. James's interview on Voice of BC.

Speaking with The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer, the New Democrat leader said, "This really is cumulative. Bob, for at least the past year, has been very open about the fact that he hasn't supported the direction the party is going, hasn't supported the direction that our team is going or I'm going. And so I said to Bob, 'It's clear that if you don't support the team and if you don't support the party, you can't be part of the team.'"

That decision was made, according to Ms. James, in the wake of her having done "a number of things for Bob since the election because of his concerns. I put Bob on the priority and planning committee - which is our committee that actually develops our strategic plan, that helps form our direction for us. I also put him on the planning committee for a policy retreat and some workshops we're doing as caucus."

However, "It was pretty clear to me, in the last year in particular, that Bob didn't want to be constructive...In fact, he didn't attend one of the policy development meetings."

"He's clearly unhappy," Ms. James concluded. "And let's remember Bob was clearly unhappy with the Liberal Party when he belonged to them. He quit the Liberal Party, joined the New Democrats. He's unhappy with us now as New Democrats. I hope Bob finds a place that's happy."

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