AbeBooks.com. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.
Feed on

I’m trying to figure out if I was surprised to hear of Carole James resignation or not.

Certainly I was sorry for Carole whom I believe is a fine person who probably, as I said long ago, is not of the right temperament for politics, BC style. She’s a conciliator not a fighter but ironically because she couldn’t conciliate her own party she had to leave. But, she couldn’t conciliate her own party, because conciliators don’t work out in BC politics. Follow me so far …?

The first problem the NDP has is how to name a replacement. There is a clause for leadership review for next November  but the review has just happened so when and how is Ms James to be replaced? While I don’t know a damned thing about the NDP Constitution it must allow for an extraordinary leadership convention when they don’t have one, as was the case when Glen Clark resigned in 1999 and in February 2000 was replaced by Ujjal Dosanjh.

The timing of a leadership convention is a delicate question. Ms James spoke of an interim leader in the New Year so the question is whether a convention is called before November or not. My suggestion – made so as to ensure it will never happen – would be to wait until next November with an interim leader, someone who agrees not to stand for leader as Dan Miller did in 1999. There are deep wounds within the party and to have an early leadership convention would simply have them deepen not heal.

These wounds reflect not so much upon Ms James but on the divisions she went in with, mainly over the power of Labour within the party. These divisions are easily exacerbated in the NDP, especially when leaders are selected. One obvious division is personified by Moe Sihota whose salary is being paid by the Union movement. There are three factors there: (1) many just don’t like Moe very much (2) there was resentment that the decision to pay him was secret (3) the payment coming from Labour sent a message that Labour was fighting to recover lost territory.

To hold an early leadership convention would see much more blood spilt in public. It will be spilled anyway, but by November such cooler heads as there are in the party will have had a chance to look for ways to smooth over the ruffled feathers with a view to “fixing” the convention to the degree it can be fixed.

The obvious danger is that postponing the convention will give the new Liberal Premier a chance to build up his party’s fortunes; the extent to which they can do that depends, of course, on who that premier is. The long shot whose odds have shortened by Jame’s going is Carole Taylor.

Who are the favourites for the NDP crown?

It’s rather like looking over a crop of yearlings and picking out which one will win the Kentucky Derby – there are many imponderables, the first of which is can he/she come from the 13 dissidents who brought James down?

Conventional wisdom says that Brutus never wins the crown though the dirtiest, craftiest Brutus of them all, the now finally disgraced Brian Mulroney, is the obvious exception. The Bruta (assuming the feminine of Brutus), Jenny Kwan has a lot of IOUs in the party not just for her obvious abilities but for her service in the two person caucus after the 2001 debacle.

Assuming that you find any NDP MLA attractive, there are several attractive choices amongst the dissenters, Norm Macdonald from Columbia River-Revelstoke being one. Apart from being a dissenter he also comes from a small political base meaning he would have to earn delegates elsewhere.

Katrine Conroy and Robin Austin also suffer that problem. Claire Trevena certainly fits the right NDP image of being female and able to win a tough constituency.

From the “loyalist” list we have several contenders including Dawn Black, Kathy Corrigan, Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth, John Horgan, Michael Sather, and Leonard Krog.

I will, in a bit, give you my hopes rather than predictions but first there are three “outsiders” one cannot rule out no matter what they say.

Corky Evans may have been away but not so far that he couldn’t circulate a lengthy letter enumerating the sins of Carole James just when she least needed it.

Gregor Robertson denies any interest but I’ll be more persuaded of that stand after some time has passed, especially if there doesn’t seem to be a favourite emerging.

Joy MacPhail has been seen about these days and I mention her because she has a following and a not bad record as a cabinet minister in tough portfolios.

Now permit me to put my environmentalist’s hat on. Call me “one issue Rafe” if you will but to me the “environment” is the overriding issue and here’s why – we can lose money and we can fail many people and groups but those things can be fixed; while all harms and wrongs cannot be fully repaired, changes in government can usually make things better.

When we destroy our environment, it’s gone forever. Moreover, the people I mention, I believe would clearly work to save the environment and also keep our commitment to good fiscal policy and social issues.

Norm Macdonald, mentioned above, would suit my criteria admirably. I’ve seen him up close and must say it’s a pity he will be dissed as a conspirator but I think as time passes that will too.

I’m also impressed by Katrine Conroy who has deep roots in the party which will probably erase her “sins” if disloyalty to Carole James is that, and has a good record on the “environment”.

I have not mentioned Michelle Mungall from Nelson Creston because she is a rookie and young – but young and free of old time baggage might be the way the campaign goes and stranger things have happened.

I also think that Mike Farnworth is an experienced legislator and sound on environmental matters. The experience he’s had over the years has clearly strengthened him.

My main choice, in a tossup with Farnworth, would be John Horgan, the energy critic. He understands the terrible Campbell Energy Plan and the inevitable consequences of it. He also has been the most forthright on what must be done including the making public of all the IPP contracts and judging them as to whether or not they are unconscionable. The issue with John is health as he is a cancer survivor.

Am I, then committed to the NDP? Is the Common Sense Canadian so committed?

The answer is a resounding NO! In fact we would welcome the presence of another party pledged to the values we, and thousands of British Columbians, are working to restore in this province we love. I would like to say that we haven’t given up hope on the Liberals but on their record, that’s surely too much to hope. Since the departure of Gordon Wilson in 1993 the Liberal party has become greedy and doctrinaire rightwing, moving, lamentably, over the last decade, steadily to the “right” to where they seem now to be just the political arm of the Fraser Institute.

The Common Sense Canadian is looking to saving our province from the fate of Brazil, Indonesia, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico states and others which have had their heritage ravaged by greed accompanied, indeed encouraged  by government policy or indifference.

We at the Common Sense Canadian are busting our asses to bring decency, common sense, and sensitive leadership to BC to replace the destruction of our heritage and that which makes us unique.

Far from being anti business, all we ask is that companies behave themselves; all we ask government is to set out solid rules of environmental conduct and enforce them.

We don’t think that’s too much to ask and as we read it, neither does the majority of British Columbians.

4 Responses to “Carole James’ resignation”

  1. Rod Smelser says:

    Rafe, how do you think Norm MacDonald would fare in a televised debate against Kevin Falcon? My guess is that MacDonald would be sticking to warm, fuzzy, nice-guy sounding talking points while Falcon machine gunned him to bits.

  2. e.a.f. says:

    And all of this going on in Christmas shopping season. I just can’t keep up with it all, the shopping, the reading the blogs, checking to see what is happening in which party, etc.
    I haven’t had this much fun in years.
    Those currently running for the liberal leadership all come from the same cloth as campbell.
    The N.D.P., well they do like to “discuss” their different philosophys and this can sometimes appear to create a divided house. I suspect they will all line up behind whomever is elected leader, if they think the party can win the next election.
    The cacus does have a lot of strong people and regardless of who becomes leader the party will offer a good government with several serious cabinet ministers.

  3. Kim says:

    I also like Horgan for the job, Rafe. He has his feet on the ground and a great personality and he understands the issues. I know, he’s my MLA. I write to politicians all the time, about all of the issues that you speak of and more. In my vast list of sent emails, very rarely a reply, unless I address my question to John Horgan, in which case, I get answers, personally and in a timely fashion.

    Having said that, Corky Evans would also inspire my vote. He should probably have won the last leadership contest. The man is engaging, passionate, intelligent and experienced. At the same time, humurous and dead serious about the issues.

    We have no lack of talent and if the opportunity presents, I will even join the party. It’s really up to us right now, the people, we have the reins of power.

    If no strong leader emerges though, perhaps we should all seek an independant, and a pox on both thier houses!

  4. Scotty on Denman says:

    Rafe, you have some good wisdom about “healing time” for the NDP,
    but I have to question waiting until next November for their leadership

    One can’t discount the possibility that the new BC Liberal leader (we
    find out February 26) might recall (no pun intended) the Assembly,
    repeal the fixed-election-date law using their majority (assuming they
    still have one, what with Independents sprouting up all over the place)
    and call a snap election, catching the NDP with their pants down.

    Imagine both Liberal and NDP leadership contests running concurrently.
    There are some things that Liberal contestants are just never going to
    attack each other on (let’s just call it “situational complicity”.) Concurrent leadership contests will give NDP candidates the opportunity
    to show the electorate who is the best one at raising and attacking
    issues that Liberals would prefer to conceal. I only mention this because
    we British Columbians apparently have political imaginations unfettered
    by what pundits from other jurisdictions might call “absurdities.”

    More serious for the NDP is party membership and financing. I’m inclined
    to believe that if the leadership contest is set for November, then many
    will also wait to join/rejoin and contribute. To be an effective opposition
    and a real contender for the next election (whenever that may be) the
    NDP needs members and money now. I think more people will join and
    open their chequebooks when The NDP leadership contest gets under
    way, so the sooner the better.

    Besides, we’re inured to political fantasia. And we haven’t even gotten to
    the BC Conservative leadership contest, the HST Referendum, Recall
    and by-elections that might follow. Best for the NDP to get out in front
    of this parade.

Leave a Reply