Loosely defined as the ‘code of silence’ doctrine made famous by the mafia, I’ve personally always believed omerta closely described the attitudes of the BC Liberal party and its current leader, Premier Campbell. Never talk, never tell and never,ever criticize the leader – those who do become persona non grata .(Loyal) Silence is golden.
However, following the dismissal of MLA Bob Simpson, it appears to me that Carole James has taken a leaf from the toxic Liberal tree and adopted the omerta attitude as well, and no one could be more disappointed than myself.
Last year I met with Carole privately, at her request, in the downtown office. I’ve always been fond of Carole, and since my ambition to run for public office has never been secret, I felt the opportunity was quite timely. I really wanted to find out where the party was headed since the appearance of Moe Sihota signified the possibility of a great change to the direction of the NDP, at least to myself .
To be frank, I am not an NDP party member – I hold no card to any political party- and in the past I have really felt that the NDP is where I would try to make that leap to provincial politics. In speaking with Carole at the time, I felt confident that she was ready for another run, and in my opinion, she was very aware of where she had gone wrong in the last election and what she should have done differently. Her honest and frank contributions to our conversation addressed my concerns – somewhat.
That being said, I also took the opportunity to voice my concerns about Moe Sihota’s return to the party executive. Although I understood the rationale that the NDP needed supporters with deeper pockets, and they felt Moe could assist with this, I felt strongly that the party would only suffer from the unshakeable bad taste Moe Sihota’s name leaves in nearly everyone’s mouth. Truly, I have never met anyone who recalls anything about Moe Sihota other than his conflict of interest debacles. I also urged Carol to be more outspoken, stronger, show some of that so-called killer instinct that I really think the people of BC want to see in any leader. Combined with her compassionate nature, it could only assist her to put herself out there with some real solutions to what ails this province, rather than continue with the politically placating rhetoric I seem to be hearing from her more often.
I left that meeting knowing that I would be a welcome addition to the party, but that there was far more I would watch for before making that choice.
Clearly, I’m no more inclined to sign up now, than I was then.
If anything, I believe Carole’s intense drive to woo the business community has blinded her to what I think are clear cries from the people of BC for her to show us an alternative that works, an alternative that puts them first, over big business. How and why the party executive came to this strategy is beyond me, but then again, I’m not a strategist,I’m a writer.
I’ve read the speech that Bob Simpson criticized, and I have to agree with him. As someone who worked very hard to counter Liberal PR during the last campaign, as someone who wrote often several times daily to inform voters of real issues that were not being given press or coverage because it would not show the Liberals in a favorable light, and as someone who cares for this province dearly, I was deeply disappointed in her speech.
I expect the person who is in charge of the party I worked hard to support, to work equally hard to find real solutions to the challenges this province is facing, to tell us what they are , and then tell us exactly how that is going to happen. In my opinion,Carole did none of the above, and left herself open to critique by way of position. By removing Bob from caucus, she inadvertently pulled the plug of remaining support among the membership who still believed in her. The truth is it will not matter why she felt she needed to do it,what people will remember is that omerta , Liberal like attitude she demonstrated by doing so.
The NDP have always been a party of the people, one where average men and women felt they were represented and heard. Carole, Moe and the party executive are failing all of their members by mirroring Liberal party strategies that will not ever, ever appeal to the vast membership at large. If we wanted Liberal strategy, we would join the Liberals. If we wanted Liberal attitude, then everything Campbell is about would be working instead of failing miserably. James and the executive would do well to remember the people of BC are tired of what has become that bad standard of political reaction from the NDP, and focus more on political action.
A wise man once said : ” The very essence of leadership is that you must have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Therein lies the problem with Carole. No one can hear if she’s even blowing.