Who's on side and who's off? - October 15, 2010

Controversy over provincial New Democrat leader Carole James's decision to expel Cariboo North legislator Bob Simpson from the opposition benches continued this week, as caucus members gathered in Vancouver for a three-day retreat. So we've updated our list of those who have spoken out about that expulsion - categorizing them into who's on side, who's off side, who hasn't yet responded to media requests and who has only given brief responses. The following is a complete copy.


David Bieber, former party communications director

"Put me in the pro-James category." (Public Eye, October 9, 2010)

David Black, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378 vice-president

"The party is at historic levels 2 1/2 years out from an election and for the first time ever we're possibly poised to win a head to head election without or opponents being split into two parties. How could we lose? The best way is to start taking things apart from within." (Bill Tieleman's Facebook page, October 9, 2010)

Mike Farnworth, Port Coquitlam legislator

"...caucuses and political parties are teams and we are going in a generally same direction. A key part of that is trust. And what Bob did was break that trust in a very public way. If you have issues within political parties you raise them within political parties and Bob chose not to do that. And when you do that there are consequences." (CBC's The Early Edition, October 7, 2010)

Rob Fleming, Victoria-Swan Lake legislator

"I think what (Mr. Simpson) did was very destructive and not constructive for what our party is going to do, which is (to) build a practical progressive alternative to the government that people will support and vote for in the next election." (Times Colonist, October 7, 2010)

Scott Fraser, Alberni-Pacific Rim legislator

"I know Bob well and I'm quite surprised by this...Coming out of a successful UBCM, I was quite shocked by some of the stuff he wrote. But we've got a great agenda. We are developing policy and we are consulting with the people of British Columbia...and I've never seen a higher level of support for us in those battles." (Times Colonist, October 7, 2010)

John Horgan, Malahat-Juan de Fuca legislator

"Bob knew what he was doing. I believe Bob is happier today than he was last week. So good for him." (Public Eye, October 12, 2010)

Lynn Hunter, former Saanich-Gulf Islands parliamentarian

"I am appalled at the lack of discipline displayed by Bob Simpson and his supporters. They have succeeded in displacing the HST scandal and the unpopularity of the Libs from the front page with the rift within the NDP. It is so painfully stupid!" (Bill Tieleman's Facebook page, October 9, 2010)

Maurine Karagianis, Esquimalt-Royal Roads legislator

"Bob has stated very clearly that he's not with us, he's not part of our team, and that's fine because either you're dedicated and loyal to your team or you're not." (Times Colonist, October 7, 2010)

Mike Lombardi, Vision Vancouver school trustee

"I fully support Carole's action in removing Bob Simpson from the caucus.This is about more than his comments about Carole's speech to the UBCM. From my observations,from the time that Carole became leader, Mr Simpson has consistenly (sic) questioned Carole's leadership and the policy directions of the BC NDP." (billtieleman.blogspot.com, October 8, 2010)

Doug McArthur, Simon Fraser University public policy professor

"He's been struggling to kind of find his feet in caucus and become a full participant in caucus. A bit of what some people call a malcontent. So he's had trouble accepting the idea that there is this discipline and team approach that's taken to a caucus." (CBC's All Points West, October 7, 2010)

Marcella Munro, Earnscliffe Strategy Group Inc. senior consultant

"Basically, he publicly slapped the leader and I think he knows that. And I don't know what he was expecting. I think he knows that and I don't know what he was expecting. I think any leader in Carole's position would have had to do the same thing." (CKNW's The Christy Clark Show, October 7, 2010)

Ian Reid, former opposition chief of staff

"Bob Simpson participated in debate around the caucus, vigorously. But he didn't win those debates, so he took it outside. He said to the rest of caucus and its leader, 'I'm more important than our project, than defeating the Liberals and electing a progressive alternative.' He's shown he'll sing solidarity but practice division." (The Real Story, October 8, 2010)

Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan legislator

"I think it's unfortunate this has happened...We have a leader who works with caucus very closely and works to consensus with caucus. We come out of our caucus reunited on issues because of that approach...It's unfortunate Bob has chosen not to be a part of that." (Times Colonist, October 8, 2010)

David Schreck, former premier's special advisor

"...James and her caucus are up to the challenge." (StrategicThoughts.com, October 7, 2010)


Ruth Bain, Kamloops-South Thompson constituency association president

"I'm certainly not one of those people calling for Carole's resignation or even necessarily a leadership review...but if she wants him out of caucus she could have probably found another way of doing it that's just not quite...That wouldn't have generated the same kind of negative publicity, which this inevitably is generating." (CHNL, October 7, 2010)

Corky Evans, former cabinet minister

"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." (Public Eye, October 8, 2010)

Helmut Giesbrecht, former cabinet minister

"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." (Public Eye, October 7, 2010)

Leonard Krog, Nanaimo legislator

"Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog would like Simpson to be brought back, telling CKNW 'how that occurs and when that occurs is not up to me.'" (CKNW, October 12, 2010)

Harry Lali, Fraser-Nicola legislator

"It would be a little hypocritical of me if I were to criticize Mr. Simpson for speaking his mind cause I've done it myself." (CHNL, October 7, 2010)

Norm Macdonald, Columbia River-Revelstoke legislator and former caucus chair

"The role of caucus chair is to ensure that caucus decisions are made in a principled way, following a proper process. I have decided that I am no longer able to continue in my role of caucus chair given recent events." (Public Eye, October 15, 2010)

Fred Muzin, former Hospital Employees' Union president

"Longtime New Democrat Fred Muzin isn't just saying that NDP leader Carole James 'over-reacted' in turfing Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson. Muzin, a former president of the Hospital Employees' Union, also told the Straight in a telephone interview today that James is "too controlled by a close circle" within the NDP." (Georgia Straight, October 8, 2010)

Lana Popham, Saanich South legislator

"Would I like him back in the caucus, yeah, absolutely. But, I can't speak for anybody else. And, like I said, the, the caucus format is where we need to discuss those issues." (CFAX, October 15, 2010)

Tom Perry, former cabinet minister

"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." (The Tyee, October 8, 2010)

Michael Sather, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows legislator

"I would have preferred that there had been a discussion with the executive about it, but I guess that's the leader's prerogative...There's not too much I can say, Matt, about what goes on in caucus. But I will say that I have to deal frequently with our supporters, who complain to me about our leadership." (Georgia Straight, October 7)

Nicholas Simons, Powell River-Sunshine Coast legislator

"Carole had to make a judgment call about how to respond to this public criticism, but like many of my colleagues and constituents I was disappointed." (Powell River Peak, October 15, 2010)

Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

"BC NDP leader Carole has made a serious error in judgement - deciding to throw Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of the NDP caucus, allegedly over mildly critical comments he made on a Williams Lake website about her recent speech to the Union of BC Municipalities." (billtieleman.blogspot.com, October 7, 2010)

Bob Williams, former cabinet minister

"(Mr. Williams) also said that it was 'extraordinary' that James tossed Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of caucus without even holding a caucus meeting. 'That's unheard-of, absolutely unheard-of,' Williams, a former long-time NDP caucus chair, said. He described Simpson's comments about James on a Williams Lake website as 'so modest', suggesting his ejection wasn't justified." (Georgia Straight, October 14, 2010)


Michelle Mungall, Nelson-Creston legislator

"I support the party, support the leader and Bob's entitled to whatever opinion he has." (The Vancouver Sun, October 7, 2010)

Bruce Ralston, Surrey-Whalley legislator

"I support the leader and I support the party." (The Vancouver Sun, October 7, 2010)

Bill Routley, Cowichan Valley legislator

"Of course I support the party and I support Carole James." (The Vancouver Sun, October 7, 2010)


Claire Trevena, North Island legislator (Times Colonist, October 7, 2010)

1 Comment

Interesting but irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that the focus readjust itself on matters critical to the province, and that is defeating Campbell and the liberal government's agenda.

There's a a leadership review already scheduled for 2011.

A lot of members are doing a lot of work towards a 2013 victory.

Everyone should just tuck their egos back in their pockets and keep their eyes on the prize.

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