Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt quits NDP
Harcourt let membership lapse over many issues including the party's opposition to carbon tax
Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt has quit the New Democratic Party, saying he let his membership lapse over several issues dating back to the party's opposition to carbon tax during the 2009 election campaign.
Harcourt said he was also unhappy with the way former leader Carole James was pushed aside in 2010 and current leader Adrian Dix's flip-flop on the Kinder Morgan pipeline issue during the last election campaign.
"[That flip-flop] alienated all the blue-collar workers in the province and party. People rely on resources for their community....That kind of did me in," he said.
Harcourt said the party needs to refocus on selecting a strong leader, creating a balanced economic and environmental vision for the province and building a team capable of forming a government.
For now, Harcourt says he's calling himself an independent, but he's not ruling out a return to the party.
The veteran NDP member was voted leader of the party in 1986 and was elected B.C. premier in 1991, marking only the second time the NDP had been in power in B.C.
He served in the position until 1996, when he resigned over the 'Bingogate' scandal, in which his NDP colleague David Stupich used money raised by a charity bingo to fund the party.
Harcourt was then succeeded by a string of NDP leaders, until 2001 when the party lost government in a landslide victory for the Liberals.
In opposition, the NDP was initially led by Joy McPhail, one of only two NDP candidates elected in the 2001 election, until newcomer Carole James replaced her as leader in 2003.
The NDP was heavily criticized by environmentalists for its opposition to the Liberals' carbon tax during the 2009 election but after electoral defeat, James announced the party was rethinking its stance.
One year later, James was forced to resign, after prominent party members publicly questioned her leadership.
Current NDP leader Adrian Dix won the the 2011 leadership race, but after the party's shock defeat in the 2013 election, announced he will resign the post as soon as a new leader is chosen in 2014.