`My job is to give people a reason to vote for the NDP,’ says new leader Carole James in HEU meeting

AS PART of an extensive tour of the province, an upbeat and optimistic NDP leader Carole James met with HEU’s Provincial Executive for more than 60 minutes Jan. 21.

James says she knows that HEU members have been hit by the Liberal agenda harder than anyone else in the labour movement. And everywhere she goes in B.C., she’s hearing about the impact of the Liberals' health care cuts.

Sensing that there’s a different feeling among voters than there was a year ago, James says “people are feeling really angry” about the provincial government. But at the same time, they’re excited “because they see a real alternative to the Campbell Liberals out there.”

“If the Liberals get another term, I’m afraid there will be nothing left in B.C.,” she says. “My job is to give people a reason to vote for the NDP.”

James says that in the lead up to the May 2005 provincial election, it’s important for her party to develop common goals and map out achievable priorities for an NDP government. Cautioning that it will take time to overcome the damage done to the province by the Campbell regime, she says the NDP must have a long-term plan with realistic time lines to implement change.

But she was clear that there are a number of measures that an NDP government would move on quickly. These include repealing the Liberal’s contract-breaking legislation Bill 29, putting all privatization contracts under the microscope, and restoring balance to the labour code.