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Carole Alison James, MLA (born December 22, 1957) is a Canadian politician and former public administrator. She has been the MLA for the Victoria-Beacon Hill electoral district since 2005. 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]

Carole James

Carole James in 2008.jpg
14th Deputy Premier of British Columbia
Assumed office
July 18, 2017
PremierJohn Horgan
Preceded byRich Coleman
Minister of Finance of British Columbia
Assumed office
July 18, 2017
PremierJohn Horgan
Preceded byMike de Jong
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Victoria-Beacon Hill
Assumed office
May 17, 2005
Preceded byJeff Bray
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
May 17, 2005 – January 20, 2011
Preceded byJoy MacPhail
Succeeded byDawn Black
Leader of the
British Columbia New Democratic Party
In office
November 23, 2003 – January 20, 2011
Preceded byJoy MacPhail
Succeeded byDawn Black
Personal details
Carole Alison James

(1957-12-22) December 22, 1957 (age 61)
Dukinfield, England
Political partyNew Democratic
Spouse(s)Albert Gerow (2004 - Present)
ResidenceVictoria, British Columbia
Occupationschool trustee, social worker

James currently serves as the 14th Deputy Premier of British Columbia and Minister of Finance under John Horgan.



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 self-identifies as 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 was 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 careerEdit

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 Victoria-Beacon Hill only losing by 35 Votes to BC Liberal candidate Jeff Bray.[6] She subsequently moved to Prince George, British Columbia to serve as the director of child and family services for Carrier Sekani Family Services, and later as co-ordinator of the Northern Aboriginal Authority for Families.[5]

Leader of the OppositionEdit

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 won her 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.[8] She was re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017.[3][5]

Leadership controversy and resignationEdit

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]

James served as opposition Critic for Children and Family Development under her successor, Adrian Dix. She was promoted to the Finance portfolio under John Horgan, and was also named deputy leader of the BC NDP and hence Deputy Leader of the Opposition. When the BC NDP won a minority government in 2017, James became Deputy Premier and Finance Minister.


  1. ^ DAWN BLACK RATIFIED AS BC NDP INTERIM LEADER Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Carole James Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
  3. ^ a b "Biography: Carole James". British Columbia New Democratic Party. Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  4. ^ Bailey, Ian (July 14, 2006). "James diagnosed with uterine cancer: MLAs rally around NDP leader after routine checkup leads to discovery". The Province. Archived from the original on December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Official Biography: Carole James". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Elections BC. "Statement of Votes, General Election 2001: Victoria-Beacon Hill" (PDF). Elections BC.
  7. ^ Beers, David (November 24, 2003). "Carole James Drummed into Power". The Tyee. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "B.C. Votes 2005". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  9. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (December 2, 2010). "James Allies Scramble to Defend Against Kwan's Attack". The Tyee. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  10. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (December 1, 2010). "'Carole James is dividing the party': NDP MLA Kwan". The Tyee. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  11. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (December 2, 2010). "NDP leader Carole James will convene emergency meeting over revolt". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  12. ^ Thomson, Stephen (December 3, 2010). "Jenny Kwan says she will "wait and see" outcome of emergency NDP caucus session". Georgia Straight. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  13. ^ Ward, Doug (December 5, 2010). "Carole James' showdown postponed". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  14. ^ Tieleman, Bill (December 7, 2010). "She Had to Go: Carole James' resignation was inevitable after NDP's 2009 election defeat". The Tyee.
  15. ^ Mason, Gary (December 8, 2010). "A timeline of the downfall of Carole James". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  16. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan and Rob Shaw (December 6, 2010). "Carole James quits as NDP leader". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  17. ^ Hunter, Justine (December 6, 2010). "Carole James Standing Down". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010.

External linksEdit

British Columbia Provincial Government of John Horgan
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Rich Coleman Deputy Premier of British Columbia
July 18, 2017–
Mike de Jong Minister of Finance
July 18, 2017–