There’s spin and then there’s lies

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.

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15 Responses to There’s spin and then there’s lies

  1. Cameron says:

    If Bob is “lying” then Harry Lali and Norm Macdonald are also “lying”. Both of them have corroborated Bob’s statements on other matters at the recent Penticton constituency meeting as confirmed in the Penticton Western News:

  2. Shamus says:

    Cameron, the story you posted does not speak to the veracity of this blog post whatsoever. What this blog post does is outline a clear case of Simpson scoring political points by exploiting the fact that the public would have no way of knowing about internal Caucus discussions. Fortunately, there are others who were privy to those Caucus discussions who are able to call Simpson out for misleading the public. Nothing in the story you posted contradicts the above.

  3. Devinder says:

    Bob said he was fired becuase he found about Moe Sihota. Lali says this is true. Bob says Carole James was in on Moe getting big money. Lali says Bob fired to keep Bob’s mouth shut about Sihota. What is truth ? Looks like dirty deal to me and Bob tell the truth about it.

  4. Kevin says:

    This is a dogs breakfast.

    The last place staffers should be sorting it out is in a blog war.

    The Moe show is a gong show. The fact that some kind of deal was made for paying an elected position such as the President and it was not disclosed prior and even after is such amateur hubris it is to weep.

    For that alone Moe should walk the plank.

    If I were Carole I would shut you all up by simply going back to the membership for an OMOV on Table officers and Leader. Clear and simple.

    You got smart asses like Bob who thinks he wants to be a leader put his name on the list and let the membership decided.

    Others who want to run for executive can be put up on our website and all campaigns capped so no institutional influence or support can stack the deck. Simply give everyone a page with a bio and a page with their vision and let the membership decide. Its got great potential and if Carole did it no one would touch her, she would probably take it hands down for simply injecting a shot democracy into this slow motion train wreck.

  5. Tony Martinson says:

    Kevin, I’d agree with you if Bob Simpson wasn’t peddling lies unchallenged. But he is. He’s had two or three appearances with Christy Clark in the last month – which would be at least two more than he’s had ever – in which he got to just bad-mouth the NDP with absolutely no challenge. You can bet the I’m-thinking-for-a-week-until-I-see-if-people-give-money one wasn’t going to call him on any of his bullshit.

  6. Kim says:

    Tony, don’t you think maybe Christy Clark wasn’t interested in his opinions until they were directed against James? Mr. Ewart has a good point when he suggests doing away with parties altogether!

  7. ron wilton says:

    I am confused. I have read what seems like reasonable assertions by all the concerned parties.
    To be fair, I don’t think Bob Simpson would have been invited to speak by Christy Clarke unless it gave her a leg up on dumping on the NDP. Ditto for Alex T.
    Seems like Bob is being used for all the wrong reasons. He really should have ‘that’ meeting with Carole James before this ‘internal’ feud becomes a major distraction.
    Unless he is planning to switch allegiances (again?), Mr. Simpson is not doing himself any favours.

  8. Mark says:

    I hope the abrasive and confrontational Christy Clark gets in the race for a whole bunch of reasons, most importantly because the attack ads pretty much write themselves

    Ian – thanks for pointing out these lies told by Bob – they absolutely do need to be challenged and Bob needs to be called out. He’s positioning himself for something (potentially as leader of a rump party of self-important snots with no binding ideology), and if he can’t do it honestly, he shouldn’t do it at all.

    Come on Christy, have a go at it. Please, please, please.

  9. Kevin says:


    A politician peddling lies unchallenged is the reason we should not risk democracy in the NDP? Its the reason we should go about publicly destroying our capacity to perform as a legitimate government in waiting? It is the reason we should continue to ignore the membership and circle the wagons around a leader who was not elected by OMOV and has not been subject to even one leadership review after having lost two elections? It is the reason we should just sit down, shut up, send money and let Moe continue to drive us in to the ground with a grand display of control in an effort to gain the confidence of our enemies while muting the voice of our members and supporters?

    Right gotch ya.

    Between you and me however I have never heard a politician peddle anything but, especially if what you consider “bald faced lies” are the type Ian outlines in this piece.

    Here is one for you. “Moes salary is a smart move designed to save money by not hiring other employees.”

  10. Grant G says:

    Carole James is done Ian Reid…Jenny Kwan threw Carole under the bus, Jenny ran Carole over and over again, time for you and David Shreck to stop defending Carole James, Carole James is the liability….Not no more….Carole James is no more!

    The party can come back with a new leader…Yellow scarves, the last childish marmy mistake…Get on board or move out of the way!

  11. Kevin says:

    Kwans move was a bold display of a principled politician.

    Now a 14 year veteran and nominator of the current leader your assesment Grant maybe accurate.

    Lets not forget Kwan stood side by side Carole through thick and thin , she was there when they could hold caucus meetings in a corvette.

    Carole is in trouble.

    What to do?

  12. Devinder says:

    Kwan has proven that Bob Simpson told the truth all along. Moe must go. Sad that Carole James must go to. Who can be next leader ?

  13. Hello Ian:

    What would be professional and accurate is to provide attribution for Bob Simpson’s quote. You took that quote, verbatim, from my blog. It was not provided to you, nor did you ask for permission.

    I was alerted to this by a mutual reader and thought I would politely bring this to your attention.

    I will assume that this was an simple omission on your part and not an effort to use my exclusive on-line interview with Bob to boost your own blog.

    In the future, if you are going to lift from my website, it would add to your credibility if you would provide attribution.

    Thank you.

    A. G. (Alex) Tsakumis

  14. Ian says:

    Sorry Alex, wrote this in white heat anger from England. The bit I quoted is just a small bit of what I know is the case. Bob has one of Campbell’s characteristics down pat: the ability to look you in the eye and lie with a smile on his face.

  15. Rod Smelser says:

    Ian, this is pretty damning stuff. It’s a bit late now, but I would suggest you post it to the Return Bob Simpson FB site that is, I believe, operated by Bill Tieleman.

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