Excerpt from the Official Report of


May 4, 2011

Thank you to interim leader Dawn Black

S. Simpson: It's been an eventful political year in British Columbia, with both parties experiencing unanticipated leadership changes. As we all know, such change has a significant impact on the workings of a political party and a caucus. In the case of the government side, Premier Campbell remained in office until the selection of Ms. Clark. On the opposition side, our leader stepped down, creating a vacancy while we waited for the ultimate selection of the member for Vancouver-Kingsway.

Filling that vacuum was a challenge that needed to be addressed, and we survived it well, thanks to the member for New Westminster, who stepped up as interim leader when called upon by our caucus and party. I want to thank her for the stability and leadership she provided, offered up with class, humour, commitment and hard work over the past few months.

As the member for New Westminster likes to say, she was minding the gap, and she did it well. She demonstrated a calm determination in how she executed her responsibilities and, in doing so, built a renewed solidarity in our caucus.

All members have an appreciation of the challenges of leadership. We understand the pressures and the variety of demands put on our leaders, all happening under the spotlight of the media and the public. The member for New Westminster delivered with flying colours during her months at the forefront of the NDP.

As caucus chair, I had the opportunity to work every day with her as we prepared for our new leader and continued to perform our duties as opposition. The member for New Westminster did a remarkable job bringing us through this time in such great shape. She pushed the government hard on issues, always with integrity and a determined respect that advanced our views with clarity and insight, and she worked inside our caucus with a single-minded focus on building our team.

The member for New Westminster has demonstrated the best traits of elected office and leadership, stepping up to the challenge and working to bring people together for a common cause. I know I speak for all members of the official opposition and, I trust, for all members of the House in thanking her for demonstrating the conduct and demeanour that reflects on all of us as elected representatives.


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