The Cariboo North MLA who was kicked out of the NDP caucus by Carole James says her leadership of the party may have just received its “fatal blow”.
“The whole lack of depth under Carole’s leadership—we just haven’t done any of the work,” Simpson said this afternoon by phone. “We don’t have a vision. We don’t have policy. We don’t have a sense of what mandate we’re going to go to the public and ask for.”
Simpson noted that Kwan has probably the “deepest roots” in the party and caucus, and therefore her concerns can’t be just brushed aside.
James ejected Simpson from caucus on October 6 after he criticized her leadership on a Williams Lake website.
“I think, the NDP, the only way to survive this is to do some kind of leadership process lockstep with the Liberals,” Simpson said.
In her statement, Kwan says a one-member, one-vote leadership convention should be held as soon as possible.
"The time for renewal in our party is long overdue," Kwan wrote. "It is untenable that 40% of caucus members cannot publicly say they support the leader. Carole James is dividing the party by staying on as leader."
Simpson said he would have preferred to see a “more graceful exit or a more graceful opportunity for leadership renewal”.
Asked whether he thinks the NDP can win the next election under James, Simpson replied, “No, I have not believed that for some time. I don’t believe that.”
Simpson said he has no intention of seeking the leadership himself.
Like Kwan, Simpson is critical of how James has made important decisions and treated the NDP caucus.
“For a person who goes to the public and calls herself a collaborative, consultative leader, that was certainly not our experience in caucus and it was getting worse after Mr. Sihota joined the party,” Simpson said, referring to Moe Sihota, the party president.
Simpson noted he would consider rejoining the caucus under a new leader.
But for that to happen, Sihota would have to go as well, he said.
“I can’t come back into a party that allows the kind of unethical behaviour that I see,” Simpson said. “His backroom deals and just the way that he goes about business, I don’t think it’s healthy for the party.”
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.