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Leader Carole James as facing criticism from within her New Democratic Party of B.C. over her leadership style recently.

B.C. New Democratic Party leader Carole James's leadership woes are mounting, capped this week with the resignation of her caucus chair.

Norm Macdonald gave up his position to protest against Ms. James' decision to fire MLA Bob Simpson for questioning her leadership. "Norm disagreed around the level of discipline," Ms. James told reporters.

At the same time, Ms. James faced questions about debt and decay in her party, after its president, Moe Sihota, delivered a blunt assessment about the state of the NDP's election readiness.

Efforts to recall government MLAs over the harmonized sales tax could land the NDP in one or more hot by-election contests next year, but Mr. Sihota has warned New Democrats that the party's organization is nowhere near the level it needs to be at to fight a campaign, and that the apparatus in key swing ridings is in a state of decay.

Mr. Sihota's remarks to the party brass were not intended for the public's ears, but notes recorded by an executive member were leaked. Tom Friedman, the author of the account, said the fact that his notes were disclosed demonstrates the fractures running through the party.

"There are people who have their own agenda in the party, and this leaked document is certainly an indication that there are people who obviously don't have the best interests of the party in mind," he said.

More troubling, he said, is the way Ms. James continues to be dogged by leadership questions.

"It's a distraction for the party," he said. "The question of the leader seems to be taking away from our ability to go forward and to develop policy and eventually a campaign platform that's going to appeal to British Columbians. So, sure, this is a bothersome situation."

The next B.C. election is more than two years away, but the party has not fully captured the benefits of their rival's misfortunes. The B.C. Liberal government has tanked in popular support over the introduction of the HST, but the NDP have not picked up that support in equal measure.

Ms. James told reporters she is not worried by the party president's assessment. "Moe is putting forward what we need to put forward to our members, which is that we need to make sure we are working harder than we've ever worked before," she said. "This is a fight ahead of us."

Although the NDP's executive has discussed how party members can unofficially take part in the recall campaigns in a partisan way, Ms. James maintained that there will be no official involvement in the campaigns spearheaded by the Fight HST campaign.

"You won't see a person or a penny from the New Democrats spent on recall. We are going to focus on winning government." But, she added: "I expect individuals will be involved."

The NDP leader has faced rumblings of discontent over her leadership since the party failed in 2009 to win government for the second consecutive election. The debate was brought into the open last week, however, when Ms. James fired Mr. Simpson over a column he wrote that included a mild rebuke of her performance.

Ms. James later said Mr. Simpson was fired for actions that marked him as a dissident. But the fact that she made her decision without consulting the other New Democratic MLAs was the subject of a heated debate this week when her 34-member caucus met for a three-day retreat.

"Norm felt that what Bob did was wrong, but he questioned the discipline that needed to be there," she said. "People had a good debate around the issue of Mr. Simpson; it's not an easy issue for anyone including me… but that's a decision that I stand by."

Mr. Macdonald, the two-term MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, did not return messages.