B.C. NDP leader to quit
VANCOUVER—B.C.’s New Democratic Party leader Adrian Dix has kicked off a renewal movement from within his wounded, left-wing party with the announcement he’s leaving as leader.
The announcement also fired the starting gun in the leadership race to find his replacement.
The NDP entered the campaign with a lead of almost 20 points in the polls, but ended up losing a fourth-consecutive election to the B.C. Liberals.
Dix said he, the party, and the candidates worked tirelessly before and during the campaign, but came up short.
It was a defeat he, as leader, must shoulder, he said.
Columbia-Revelstoke New Democrat Norm Macdonald said Dix met with the NDP caucus shortly before publicly announcing he would leave as leader after a leadership contest.
Macdonald and several other NDP MLAs said Dix’s decision to step down was an unselfish move in which he put the good of the party ahead of personal ambition.
“He explained to us that this was the best way forward, and most people knew that he was approaching this from the perspective of putting us, as caucus, and the party’s interests first over his own,” noted Macdonald.
He added Dix did the right thing by announcing he will step aside, but the announcement was bittersweet as the sting of last spring’s loss remains.
“For us in caucus, we got used to seeing this guy stand up and deliver in question period,” Macdonald said. “We got used to the hour-long speeches without notes.
“All of those things that made us really proud.”
Port Coquitlam New Democrat Mike Farnworth, who said shortly after Dix’s announcement that he seriously will consider a run at the leadership, said Dix opened the doors to what could become a free-wheeling debate about the New Democratic Party.
“It will allow us to have a very constructive and positive convention in November,” noted Farnworth, the NDP’s finance critic.
“I think there’s been uncertainty and members rightly want to know what are we going to do, where are we going, and what is the direction of the party,” he stressed.
“Adrian today has gone a long way to dealing with that issue.”
Dix, who was variously jovial and emotional during his announcement yesterday, said he hopes a leadership vote will be held no later than the middle of next year.
He said he’ll retain his Vancouver-Kingsway seat and run again while doing everything he can to support the new leader.