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Carole James

Carole James
MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill
Assumed office
Preceded by Jeff Bray
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
Preceded by Joy MacPhail
Succeeded by Dawn Black
Personal details
Born Carole Alison James
(1957-12-22) December 22, 1957
Dukinfield, England
Political party New Democratic
Spouse(s) Albert Gerow (2004 - Present)
Residence Victoria, British Columbia
Occupation school trustee, social worker

Carole Alison James, MLA (born December 22, 1957) is a Canadian politician and former public administrator. She is the former Leader of the Opposition in British Columbia and former leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party (NDP), a social democratic political party. She announced her intention to resign as leader on December 6, 2010 and was officially replaced by interim leader Dawn Black on January 20, 2011.[1][2]


  • Background 1
  • Early career 2
  • Leader of the Opposition 3
    • Leadership controversy and resignation 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


James was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire, England, and raised in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, and in Victoria, British Columbia. After graduating from high school, James and her first husband worked in institutions for the developmentally disabled in Alberta and British Columbia. As a mother of young children, Alison and Evan, she became involved in a parents' group in Victoria, which led to her first foray into politics.[3] James is part Métis, and in 2004 married her long-time partner, Albert Gerow, a First Nations artist and former Burns Lake municipal councillor and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. Gerow is now the chief of the Burns lake Band in Burns Lake.

James has been a foster parent for over twenty years.

On July 13, 2006, James announced publicly that she had been diagnosed with localized uterine endometrial cancer.[4] She underwent surgery and radiation treatment and her prognosis is considered to be excellent.

Early career

James served on the Greater Victoria School Board from 1990 to 2001, including seven terms as chair, and gained a province-wide profile in her unprecedented five terms as president of the BC School Trustees Association. She also served at the national level as vice-president of the Canadian School Boards Association. From 1999 to 2001, James held the position of director of child care policy for the British Columbia government. In addition, she served on several local and provincial panels and committees.[5]

In 2001, James ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in the riding of Carrier Sekani Family Services, and later as co-ordinator of the Northern Aboriginal Authority for Families.[5]

Leader of the Opposition

James was elected leader of the provincial NDP on November 23, 2003.[5] At the time of her election the party was suffering low morale in the wake of the 2001 provincial election, which had reduced the NDP to only two seats in the Legislative Assembly. During her campaign to win the party leadership, James pledged to modernize the NDP's ideology and internal structures and build a broader base of support for the party,[7] a move which alienated some traditional supporters.

During the 2005 provincial election,[5] James campaigned heavily on her name and image. On election night James and the NDP surprised many supporters and critics alike with a very strong electoral showing; the party winning 41.52% of the popular vote (a 19.96% increase from the 2001 election result) and 33 out of 79 seats in the Legislative Assembly. James also won her own seat in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill with 57.01% of the vote, defeating the incumbent B.C. Liberal MLA Jeff Bray by an almost 2-1 margin of victory.[8] She was re-elected in 2009.[3][5]

Leadership controversy and resignation

On December 1, 2010, Jenny Kwan, a prominent party member, released a statement to the media criticizing James' leadership of the New Democratic Party, and calling for an immediate leadership convention.[9][10][11] In response to Kwan's statement, James called an emergency caucus session to address opposition to her continued leadership.[12] While the session was meant to take place on December 5, it was later postponed so that private discussions could take place with a group of thirteen caucus members opposed to James' continued leadership.[13] On short notice on December 6, James announced she would resign the party's leadership.[14][15] She continued in the position, however, until Dawn Black was chosen to act as Interim Leader.[16][17]


  2. ^ Carole James Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
  3. ^ a b "Biography: Carole James".  
  4. ^ Bailey, Ian (July 14, 2006). "James diagnosed with uterine cancer: MLAs rally around NDP leader after routine checkup leads to discovery".  
  5. ^ a b c d e "Official Biography: Carole James".  
  6. ^ Elections BC. "Statement of Votes, General Election 2001: Victoria-Beacon Hill" (PDF).  
  7. ^ Beers, David (November 24, 2003). "Carole James Drummed into Power".  
  8. ^ CBC News. "B.C. Votes 2005".  
  9. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (December 2, 2010). "James Allies Scramble to Defend Against Kwan's Attack".  
  10. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (December 1, 2010). Carole James is dividing the party': NDP MLA Kwan"'".  
  11. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (December 2, 2010). "NDP leader Carole James will convene emergency meeting over revolt".  
  12. ^ Thomson, Stephen (December 3, 2010). "Jenny Kwan says she will "wait and see" outcome of emergency NDP caucus session".  
  13. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan and Doug Ward (December 5, 2010). "Carole James' showdown postponed".  
  14. ^ Tieleman, Bill (December 7, 2010). "She Had to Go: Carole James' resignation was inevitable after NDP's 2009 election defeat".  
  15. ^ Mason, Gary (December 8, 2010). "A timeline of the downfall of Carole James".  
  16. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan and Rob Shaw (December 6, 2010). "Carole James quits as NDP leader".  
  17. ^ Hunter, Justine (December 6, 2010). "Carole James Standing Down".  

External links

  • Official Biography, BC Legislative Assembly
  • Biography, Personal Page
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