Vancouver MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert says Carole James should not bear all the blame for the infighting that has plagued the B.C. New Democrat caucus.
“Clearly there was a division. The whole caucus had a part to play in it,” Chandra Herbert told the Straight today (December 6) by phone. “I don’t think it’s fair to lay it all at Carole James’ feet.”
“Every caucus member had a responsibility to work well, to find ways to function as a team and I think that work has to continue no matter who’s the leader,” he added. “And I think that just as in any other workplace that work will continue.”
Chandra Herbert made the comments following the embattled Opposition leader’s announcement she is stepping down as head of the provincial NDP after seven years in the role.
“I think it’s going to take some time for people to reflect on what this means, to reflect on what roles they played in the divisions that were created,” said Chandra Herbert, who was among a group of NDP MLAs that stood in support of James during a news conference last week.
Asked who should lead the party in the future, Chandra Herbert said: “Today’s the day that I want to reflect on Carole’s leadership and what we can learn from it and what lessons we can take of the course of the last number of months. So, no, I can’t put forward anything like that today.”
The MLA for Vancouver-West End told the Straight he was surprised by James’ decision and thanked her for her work as party leader.
Chandra Herbert said the NDP needs to focus on its work in Victoria as official Opposition and trying to form government.
“I hope we can all take something from this and realize we all have to put in,” he said. “It’s so easy to snipe from the sidelines and to be critical and to criticize decisions that leaders make.”
“But if you haven’t done anything to try to better a situation, and you just sit and criticize, you’re not bettering a situation.”
Chandra Herbert emphasized he is committed to working as a “peace-builder” within the caucus.