New Westminster MLA Dawn Black emerges from caucus meeting Wednesday where she was elected interim NDP leader.

New Westminster MLA Dawn Black emerges from caucus meeting Wednesday where she was elected interim NDP leader.

Interim NDP leader walks into storm

VICTORIA – New Westminster MLA Dawn Black took over as interim leader of the B.C. NDP Wednesday, as the divided party ran into further turbulence over allegations of improper member sign-ups in the leadership campaign to select a permanent leader.

A veteran of three terms in Ottawa as an NDP MP, Black was the unanimous choice of MLAs who attended Wednesday’s caucus meeting, including former NDP leader Carole James.

Black said she has no intention of disciplining any of the 13 MLAs who turned on James and forced her resignation in December, some of whom attended Wednesday’s meeting.

“We don’t have dissidents now,” Black said. “We are united around that caucus table, we’re moving forward, we’re putting the past behind us.”

Black serves as B.C. NDP leader until a province-wide leadership vote is held April 17. Rival candidates Mike Farnworth and Harry Lali lodged formal complaints with the party Monday after Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix’s campaign filed his new memberships to meet the eligibility deadline to vote for a new leader.

Lali said the Dix campaign brought in “thousands” of memberships from the Indo-Canadian and Filipino communities, with cash donations brought in separately in bags. Donations were supposed to be attached to each membership to show that people paid their own fees.

James, who took a holiday in Mexico after resigning as leader in early December, said she has no regrets and expects the party to move on united under a new leader.

She said she is looking forward to serving as MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill until the next election, without the pressure of being the opposition leader.

“I’ve been incredibly blessed to have a community that has been gracious and has accepted the time I’ve spent on the road,” James said. “This is my chance to be a local MLA.”

The NDP also chose new caucus officers, some of whom resigned those positions over the expulsion of Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson last fall.

Vancouver-Hastings MLA Shane Simpson was elected caucus chair, with Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA as deputy.

Esquimalt-Royal Roads MLA Maurine Karagianis was elected caucus whip, with Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan as deputy.

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read