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Emotional Carole James steps down from NDP helm

VANCOUVER - B.C. New Democrat Leader <font class="matchSearch"><font class="matchSearch"><font class="matchSearch"><font class="matchSearch">Carole</font></font></font></font> James has resigned following weeks of internal dissent.

VANCOUVER - B.C. New Democrat Leader Carole James has resigned following weeks of internal dissent.


James
called a hasty news conference Monday morning and announced she will
step down immediately as the Opposition leader, blaming infighting
among her caucus.


Her voice cracking, James told reporters she was proud of the work the party has done under her leadership.


“I spent my entire life building things, not taking them apart,” she said in Victoria.


James
said she worked to rebuild the caucus but “there are some individuals
who want to continue the infighting. If I'm the one who's become the
excuse for some folks ... then I'm removing myself.”


The party cancelled an emergency caucus meeting planned Sunday to deal with the ongoing controversy over James's leadership.


Last week, the party's longest-serving MLA put the final nail in James's political coffin with a blistering public attack on her leadership.


MLA
Jenny Kwan's call for an immediate leadership convention was only the
latest in a string of dissent and criticism that saw one MLA turfed
from caucus and several others publicly renounce James's leadership.


Kwan joined a group of dissidents who forced a showdown earlier with James
and her supporters at the party's provincial council meeting. At that
meeting, party members voted 84 per cent in favour of keeping James on as leader.


But the vote failed to quell the controversy that began when former NDP MLA Bob Simpson publicly criticized James in September and was dumped from caucus as a rebuke.


In
the following weeks, caucus whip Katrine Conroy and caucus chair Norm
Macdonald resigned in protest. Other critics came forward, including
MLAs Harry Lali and one-time leadership candidate Leonard Krog.


After Kwan's attack, James announced the emergency caucus meeting, but by Sunday, it seems the fight was over.


Carole James was elected Leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party on Nov. 23, 2003.


James
is a former president of the B.C. School Trustees Association and a
former director of child care policy for the government of British
Columbia.


She was elected as the MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill in the 2005 provincial election.

 
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