Ex-B.C. NDP leader Carole James to run in next election
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2011 8:54PM PDT
The former leader of British Columbia's Opposition NDP says her stint on the backbenches this spring has rekindled her passion for politics and she's planning to run again in the next provincial election.
"I don't take work on to be work," said Carole James, who was NDP leader for seven years until she resigned late last year.
"I take work on to be my life, so I had to know that I could be passionate about this job before I'd make a decision to stay."
James quit as party leader last December in the middle of an ugly public political feud that saw 13 members of the NDP caucus stage a rebellion over her leadership.
At the time, it appeared James, who described her resignation as a "win for the bullies," would soon follow former Liberal premier Gordon Campbell and make a compete exit from politics.
Campbell, battered by the ongoing public anger over his government's introduction of the harmonized sales tax, resigned his Vancouver seat in the months after his retirement announcement. His departure from the legislature left a vacancy that has since been filled by his successor, Premier Christy Clark.
James said she seriously considered leaving politics after her resignation, but the people and issues in her riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill in downtown Victoria fuelled her desire to stay in politics.
She said her riding is a microcosm of the issues facing British Columbians under the Liberals: the inadequate treatment of vulnerable people, particularly seniors, the disabled and the homeless.
"We in this province are not looking after the people of this province well," she said. "We have more inequity than I've ever seen in British Columbia."
James said NDP Leader Adrian Dix played a role in keeping her in politics.
She said Dix encouraged her to speak up during the recently finished legislative session, when James initially considered fading into the distance to clear the stage for the new leader.
"When I saw the disregard that the Liberals gave to questions about people with developmental disabilities and the lack of support that they were getting, I got angry and fired up," said James.
She said the months leading up to her resignation was a wrenching period in her life.
Still, she added she's always known party leader was a job in which not everybody likes what you do. Rather, the goal is to work together as a team.
"I didn't run to find a bunch of new friends here in the legislature," James said. "I ran to get things done."
James said she believes Dix has New Democrats working together and focused on defeating the Liberals in the next election, which could come as early as this fall.
"We don't all have to like each other around this table, but we have to be able to work together."