NDP has been dealing with call to discipline dissidents

The British Columbia New Democratic Party has been dealing with a high-level call to discipline the 13 MLAs who forced Carole James's resignation as party leader. The NDP's provincial secretary Jan O'Brien has said she isn't aware of the status of that call, stating president Moe Sihota is handling it. Mr. Sihota has refused comment on the matter, with Ms. James's replacement Adrian Dix stressing the opposition is united. But party sources say they're not aware of the call officially being disposed of.

Now Communications Group Inc. founding partner and strategic advisor Ron Johnson - whose firm does much of the NDP's advertising - made the call in mid-December.

Mr. Johnson, who is presently in Europe, did not respond to repeated requests to comment on his call - which was sent to Mr. Sihota and Ms. O'Brien shortly after Ms. James's resignation.

The letter stressed the importance of justice being done and seen to be done, advising the party to censure the dissidents.

It also advised the party to warn the Baker's Dozen further disloyalty would result in their suspension from the NDP, suggesting at one point that such behaviour could also result in them not being candidates in the next election.

Ms. O'Brien said she couldn't comment on the status of Mr. Johnson's letter.

"I'm not handling that so I can't give you an update on that," she said, adding, "It's being handled by Moe Sihota."

Mr. Sihota wouldn't say whether the issue had been resolved - or even if Mr. Johnson's letter existed - stating the party constitution requires him to deal "confidentially" with any matters that come to his attention.

However, he did say, "the general policy is try to resolve matters amicably and that has happened in every case I've had to deal with."

He also stated the party "has moved past any issues that were divisive last winter," adding he looks forward to Jenny Kwan, one of the most outspoken dissidents, "being part of our team and part of our government caucus."

For his own part, Mr. Dix said he had "no idea" about the status of the issue, noting, "those matters are being dealt with by the party."

Indeed, he said he hadn't even seen Mr. Johnson's letter, which also suggested the party ask Ms. James to reconsider her resignation.

As for whether he thought the dissidents should be censured, Mr. Dix said, "Every member of my caucus has an important critic area. Every member of my caucus is an important part of my team. Everyone has been participating in question period."

Indeed, the leader said, "I don't think the party has been any more unified than we are now coming out of a leadership campaign."


Either this is Dix's trump card or some people need to move along. Either way, I prefer the Premier Christy Clark, MLA positive version of party unity to this...

I don't really understand why this is a story. Wasn't the letter written "shortly after Ms. James's resignation?" And the apparent call in December? I'm pretty sure a lot of people had that immediate reaction. And the climate is a tad different now. There are new leaders on both sides.

Good for Moe Sihota and Adrian Dix for not rising to this bait. The NDP did a great job managing the leadership race, and Mr. Dix has won my admiration for the steps he has taken since then.

I agree with Suzy T -- this is not today's story. It does, however, give the Party and the Leader a chance to re-iterate the message of unity. I am pleased to see that they are looking forward with strength and resolve to win the next election.

You are right Suzy T. Adrian Dix has dealt with it and it is done. Why it is here well..... And Josef K, of course you do.

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