Former provincial New Democrat legislators Corky Evans and Tom Perry are among those opposing North Cariboo MLA Bob Simpson's expulsion from the opposition caucus. In a comment posted on The Tyee earlier this morning and verified by Public Eye, Dr. Perry wrote, "Leadership is not about punishing people who disagree or challenge, unless they are blatantly obstructionist. Mr. Simpson's record suggests he is better informed and more thoughtful than most MLA's, and his local support and re-election in a close riding likely derives from a good record as MLA." As for Mr. Evans, he told Public Eye last night that Ms. James's decision "pissed me off enough that, for the first time in a year-and-a-half, I returned your phone call. That's an indication of how I feel."
"What Carole James has done makes no sense. The fella wrote two lines. He didn't write my leader is a failure. He wrote the speeches of the two leaders lack substance. And who doesn't know that? You don't think all the mayors didn't go home thinking the same thing?" he stated. "And besides that, if your angry with somebody why would want to make them into front page news - get the on the talk shows, make them a hero. That's pretty dumb."
"Think of all the things I said over the years that Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark, Ujjal Dosanjh had to put up with. And my constituents, even when they thought I was dead wrong and Corky is haywire, they appreciated voice. When they put an x, they take time off work, they drive to the hall, they vote, they don't even like voting but they want voice...If you take away voice, from my standpoint, you're destroying the work and the contract with the voters."
Moreover, Mr. Evans stated, "The nasty accusation against Liberal MLAs in the early years of the Campbell administration was New Democrats called them Kool-Aid drinkers. Why was that? It was because they wouldn't speak. My own caucus demeaned people who took public office and didn't say what they thought. And now it would appear that that's the style they wish to emulate - or at least someone wants them to emulate. I'm not sure that caucus members do."
"I think if there's no room for Bob in the party - not because he's Bob but because he's some people's voice - there's probably no room for me. I made a career out of trying to, as best as I could, speak for the people and speak my mind. And if that's not okay, then I'm pretty sure the party I belonged to all my life doesn't want me. Except don't misinterpret me. I ain't going to quit because I want to be in the room if there's a leadership review."