A last minute invitation

Former provincial New Democrat official Berni Pearce is encouraging constituency association presidents to support a resolution that would invite their leader "to step down for the greater good of the party." In an email sent to some of those presidents, Ms. Pearce wrote Premier Gordon Campbell's recent decision to resign "forces us to look at what may unfold if we continue with the status quo...Doing nothing now will result in Carole James running against the new leader of the Liberal Party. We cannot know the outcome of such a race, of course, as there are any number of factors to consider, but note the 15 point drop of the NDP in the most recent polling, conducted and reported by the CBC after the resignation of Mr. Campbell."

"I believe that the BC NDP needs new leadership," she continued. "The most frequent comment I've heard about Carole James from those outside the Party is: 'I don't know what she stands for. She seems like a nice person but...' Inside the Party, we know the concerns about her admitted failure to communicate Party vision and policies to the voters of BC during the 2009 election campaign."

As such, Ms. Pearce - who most recently was a director-at-large with the Parksville-Qualicum constituency association - is lobbying constituency associations without an incumbent New Democrat MLA to support her proposal.

"Although the deadline for submitting regular resolutions has passed, I encourage your constituency to submit the resolution to the Provincial Office for inclusion as an Emergency Resolution at the upcoming Provincial Council Meeting, scheduled for November 20 in Victoria."

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned resolution, as well as Ms. Pearce's accompanying email.

A movement for leadership in BC

TO:

The Presidents

BC NDP Constituency Associations in constituencies with incumbent Liberal MLAs

Dear Presidents,

If necessary, would you forward this to the current president of your constituency association? Thank you.

I am a longtime member and supporter of the BC and Federal NDP, now retired and living in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I am a member of the Party but do not, at present, hold any office or sit on any committee of the BC NDP. My constituency of Parksville Qualicum is held by a Liberal incumbent MLA.

I offer the attached resolution for consideration by your Constituency Executive Committee as an effective action which you can take to bring about leadership change in the BC NDP.

We have all gone through an intense few weeks within the Party, with the eviction from Caucus of Bob Simpson, and the resignation of Caucus Chair Norm Macdonald.

It was capped last week with the unexpected resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell -- an event which I believe calls for a serious re-evaluation of where we've been, where we are now, and where we want and need to go.

This recent development, combined with the fact that it may precipitate an election as early as late 2011 (or early 2012), forces us to look at what may unfold if we continue with the status quo within our own Party.

If we simply rely on the Party Constitution to deal with it, we can expect that the Party Executive may choose to waive an NDP leadership review scheduled for November 2011 because a general election may have already been called or may be expected shortly. I believe the risk is high that the Liberals will call a quick election to forestall any competition from the right, such as the BC Conservative Party. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that there will not likely be a Leadership Review at the NDP Convention in 2011.

Doing nothing now will result in Carole James running against the new leader of the Liberal Party. We cannot know the outcome of such a race, of course, as there are any number of factors to consider, but note the 15 point drop of the NDP in the most recent polling, conducted and reported by the CBC after the resignation of Mr. Campbell.

I believe that the BC NDP needs new leadership. The most frequent comment I've heard about Carole James from those outside the Party is: "I don't know what she stands for. She seems like a nice person but..." Inside the Party, we know the concerns about her admitted failure to communicate Party vision and policies to the voters of BC during the 2009 election campaign. This pattern has continued on several political issues since then. For instance, we are still very unsure what Carole James' position is on the Enbridge pipeline.

I hope you will consider the following resolution carefully, reflect on what you hope for the Party and its policies, and think about the future. Although the deadline for submitting regular resolutions has passed, I encourage your constituency to submit the resolution to the Provincial Office for inclusion as an Emergency Resolution at the upcoming Provincial Council Meeting, scheduled for November 20 in Victoria.

As we know, there is always power in numbers. That is what democracy is supposed to be about. If one or more of you are prepared to submit this resolution, I would ask the rest of you to consider endorsing it through notification to Provincial Council to that effect.

Finally, you will note this letter has been targeted to those constituencies without a sitting NDP MLA. This was a deliberate choice on my part as it is not my intention to further divide the party; but rather to strengthen it to be the kind of leadership force that I believe British Columbians want and need. Now I see in recent news reports, that constituencies with incumbent NDP MLAs are taking the lead on this. There are now four of them who have declared or made statements in favour of a full leadership convention next year. They are Penticton, Fraser-Nicola, North Coast, and Cariboo North. In addition, today, a spokesman for the constituency of MLA Doug Routley (Nanaimo-North Cowichan) reports they have passed a resolution calling for Carole James to resign to allow a leadership contest to begin much sooner.

Now that these folks (with the most to lose) have displayed such courage, can the rest of us lag behind? They need our support. I hope your constituency can do so.

I would appreciate it if you could let me know what you decide on this matter?

Thank you for your attention,
Berni Pearce

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