Adrian Dix is hoping the reputation he has built as a tenacious critic of B.C.’s Liberal government will help make him the next leader of B.C.’s New Democratic Party.
Dix made Creston the ninth community he’s visited in recent weeks, arriving on Friday with Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall to attend a meeting about health care issues.
A one-time executive director of Canadian Parents for French’s B.C. and Yukon branch, Dix said he has travelled the province extensively. On this trip he doesn’t like much of what he has seen.
“The economy is the central issue,” he said. “The current government has the worst economic record I’ve seen in my lifetime — and it’s at its worst outside the Lower Mainland.”
Describing the centralization of government services, notably health, as a failure, Dix said communities need basic services.
“Basic health care and education are needed for communities to thrive, or even exist,” he said.
The MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway is the Opposition caucus deputy house leader and also serves as the opposition critic for health. He is one of six declared candidates to replace Carole James as leader of the party. Four other MLAs — John Horgan (Juan de Fuca), Harry Lali (Fraser-Nicola), Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain) and Nicholas Simons (Powell River-Sunshine Coast) — and marijuana activist Dana Larsen join Dix in the race.
“We need to clearly identify our principles, ones that people across the province can identify with,” Dix said about a party that appeared to be in turmoil as it debated James’s ability to lead the NDP back to power. “People expect clarity and realism.”
Dix said that it is clear government “can’t do everything”, and people of rural B.C. understand that. He said he is pleased with the response he has received in his campaign.
“The response has been good everywhere,” he said. “I’ve probably travelled through more of the province than the other candidates.”
Describing his opponents in the leadership race as “all excellent” Dix said the campaign has been marked by its civility.
“We have some really hard debates about the issues, but they have remained civil,” he said.
A new leader will be selected by a one member, one vote system that will put the choice directly into the hands of 25,000-30,000 party members, Dix said.