Bob Simpson will say just about anything to attack the leadership of the NDP. It’s as straightforward as that. And it’s one of the big reasons he’s not in caucus. This is not a new problem.
Here’s an example. Simpson gave an interview last week in which he claimed that late in 2008 – after Campbell released his economic stimulus package – the NDP had no coherent response. And he said James and her people (I think that would include me, because I was her chief of staff) rejected his analysis of the cost of Campbell’s stimulus.
Here are Simpson’s own words:
“We weren’t preparing any response to Campbell’s policies and had no intention of doing so either–I think that’s what I found most troubling and that’s what got me thinking we needed to shake things up or we’d lose the next election, which we did and shouldn’t have. As an example, I did a calculation on the back of an envelope, literally, when I counted up Campbell and Hansen’s stimulus package, which, if you knew the figures, would leave us somewhere in the region of being $2 billion in debt. I went to Carole and her people with this and none of them would budge. I was left wondering if they understood that we were the opposition and not there just to sound the alarm, but come up with answers people could appreciate.”
Here’s why this is a lie:
1. Simpson didn’t come to Carole or me or my staff and provide any calculation that showed Campbell’s stimulus would leave BC $2 billion in debt.
2. And James, contrary to Simpson’s claim, did provide a critique of Campbell’s stimulus plan. In fact it was in a TV address. And it included policy that Simpson himself worked on.
Let’s look at the first part of the lie.
Simpson didn’t provide a calculation of the cost of Campbell’s stimulus – and didn’t need to – because we already knew what it would cost.
Campbell’s package was fully costed. It added up to about a $2 billion of extra spending – mostly on business tax cuts – over four years and we had the numbers sitting on our desks in Campbell’s press release. You can still find them on-line.
Here’s the real debate the NDP was faced with, which was handled with great aplomb by Finance Critic Bruce Ralston. We knew what the stimulus spending would do to the bottom line. But we didn’t know – and Simpson didn’t know – what the bottom line would look like because nobody outside of the Liberal government knew what was happening to revenue.
The real debate in caucus, in the media and in the election was ‘what was the true revenue estimate’ and therefore the true deficit. We believed the deficit was much higher than what Campbell was saying but we couldn’t prove it because he kept the revenue numbers hidden.
When they finally came out after the election they were – as we suspected and as we said we suspected – in the tank. But the $2 billion deficit didn’t come from Campbell’s additional stimulus spending as Simpson claims. It came from a precipitous decline in revenue that wasn’t revealed until after the election. Simpson knows that.
Secondly, Simpson claims James offered no response to Campbell’s stimulus plan. But that’s an easily disproved lie as well. James went on TV on October 27th 2008 and presented a fully costed response. Here’s the lead on the Sun’s story: “In a prime-time economic speech aimed at rural communities and low-wage earners, New Democratic Party leader Carole James proposed a $2-billion-plus economic stimulus package Monday night.”
What might be the most egregious part of Simpson’s lie is that James’ stimulus package included a rural recovery program that Simpson himself worked on and personally presented to caucus that fall.
You tell me. How does that square with Simpson’s statement that no policy and no response to Campbell’s stimulus was produced under James? It doesn’t and it can’t. It’s a bald face lie.