Norm Macdonald is publicly differing with Carole James's reported explanation for why he resigned as caucus chair. Several media outlets have quoted the party leader as stating the Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA stepped down because he disagreed with the "level of discipline" meted out to Bob Simpson, who was expelled from caucus for criticizing Ms. James. But, in a statement released late Sunday evening, Mr. Macdonald alleged that reported explanation is "not accurate" - although he doesn't name Ms. James as its source. "I am resigning because caucus was not consulted, and I believe that goes against the principle of due process. Ensuring that people are treated fairly is a core New Democratic value. The decision to resign was not an easy decision to make, but it was my only option. I have to stand up for what I know is right." Public Eye first pointed out that aforementioned discrepancy on Friday. The following is a complete copy of Mr. Macdonald's statement.
On Friday, October 15th I announced that I had resigned as caucus chair.
The role of caucus chair is to ensure that caucus affairs are managed in a principled way, following a proper process.
I have fundamental differences with the Leader on what the role of caucus should be. I believe that caucus members must be part of the decision-making process. All MLAs were elected to actively participate in the Legislature and within their caucus. Removing MLAs from decision-making is not something I can support.
The decision to remove a member from caucus should not be made unilaterally by the Leader. The Leader has a responsibility to first consult with caucus and that did not happen in this case.
It has been stated that I am resigning because I disagree with the level of punishment received by my former colleague. This is not accurate. I am resigning because caucus was not consulted, and I believe that goes against the principle of due process. Ensuring that people are treated fairly is a core New Democratic value.
The decision to resign was not an easy decision to make, but it was my only option. I have to stand up for what I know is right.
When I was elected in 2005 and 2009, I made a promise to my constituents. During the election I spoke about my commitment to democracy. While knocking on doors, voters told me that they want a representative who would work hard to make our democratic system work better.
My responsibility is to the people who elected me. They expect me to live up to the principles that I have espoused even when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient to do so.
While I will no longer be a member of the caucus executive, I will continue to be an active member of my caucus and a strong critic of this government.
Norm Macdonald MLA
Columbia River - Revelstoke