The decent thing to do

Provincial New Democrat leader Carole James is a decent person. I know this from personal experience. When I was laid off from my job at a Vancouver newspaper, she was the only politician who called to express their condolences. Then, a few months later, she was the only politician who sent a card to congratulate me when I tied the knot. I appreciated these personal acts of kindness. But what's happening in the New Democrats right now is political. And, politically speaking, it's time for this decent person to step down.

It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong anymore. It doesn't matter whether Ms. James would have been a good premier or a bad one. What matters is her hard line handling of dissent surrounding her leadership has made it untenable for her to continue doing that job.

She and her advisors have repeatedly made decisions that have escalated rather than deescalated the crisis within her party.

Expelling Bob Simpson from caucus, name-calling dissident MLAs, using "visual intimidation" tactics against them and warning her critics they'll be held to account at an emergency caucus meeting later today - each of these actions is at odds with Ms. James's self-branding as someone who does politics differently.

And they've triggered an equal and opposite reaction from the dissidents - a reaction that has seen former and sitting MLAs put on-the-record what had formerly been off-the-record concerns about her.

Those statements will likely figure prominently in the Liberals' attack ads during the next election. Even one of Ms. James's own supporters - Paul Ramsey - realizes that. But what Mr. Ramsey and Ms. James apparently fail to realize is that this damage is irreparable.

So it's time for Ms. James to prove she is the leader her opponents say she isn't and step down. Because I can't foresee anything else that can resolve this impasse while fully preserving the New Democrats' chances of winning the next election.

5 Comments

Great editorial Sean :-). But I don't think Carole's people know how to find your blog...

Correct, she is done as leader. And, the NDP is finished as a potential government. The party without cohesive policies is unable even to decide on how internal politics should be conducted. Imagine how useless they would be in government facing even broader divergence of issues and viewpoints.

Unlike Norm I don't think that all is lost necessarily. We simply can't afford another term of BC Liberals. I'm hoping that calmer heads will prevail and that Carole reflects carefully on what would be in the best interests of British Columbians.

I am heartened and more hopeful now about the prospects of the BCNDP. It has proved that a sizable portion of the caucus have the courage of their convictions to voice dissent in the face or rash and undemocratic decisions of the party leadership. As Jenny Kawn said, the NDP is worth fighting for.

Yes, Carole James is a decent human being. Unfortunately, this quality disqualifies her from leading a party in today's BC politics.

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