It is no surprise to anyone but Monday, Adrian Dix entered the BC NDP leadership race. He is a strong candidate, probably the one that most worries BC Liberals. Their strategy, demonstrated by spokesman Keith Baldrey today, is to paint Dix as a radical leftist and tie him to the illusive image that pundits and partisans designed for Glen Clark many years ago.
Attacking Dix by trying to resurrect the false and contemptible effigy of Clark will be a mistake. For one thing, new media now provides a counterbalance to yellow tinged reporting in the mainstream media. With today’s social media and the lost influence of newspapers and television news, a campaign such as the “fast ferry fiasco” could not be manufactured today.
Attempts to use the Clark name negatively will fail also because, after he left politics for a management position with the Jim Pattison Group, Clark proved himself a skilled and reliable entrepreneur. His employer is a small enterprise with revenues over $7 billion and more than 33,000 employees. This group has resources and dedication to hire the best management available. You can be sure that, if Clark deserved labels hung on him more than a decade ago, he would not have flourished in Jimmy Pattison’s empire where Clark is president of The News Group North America.
Shaw TV and Postmedia have already reached into the memory vaults aiming to castigate Dix for an act of loyalty in 1998 to his boss. Dix fudged the date of a file memo, attempting to show that Premier Clark had steered clear of sensitive casino licensing issues. Dix took accountability for the mistake and apologized without reservation. Does acceptance of responsibility and then serving many faultless years of public service erase that issue? I think any reasonable person believes Dix earned vindication. Truly, if we expect prospective leaders to have lived perfect lives, we will need a backup plan because those humans don’t exist. By comparison, this province’s worst ever Premier has never admitted to any of his billion dollar errors or apologized for the corruption within his government.
I think the important measure of Adrian Dix is the work he has done on the front bench of the Official Opposition. There has been no more effective critic in the house. Dix was energetic and compelling when directing attention at the ministry of children and families, that dumping ground for incompetent Liberals throughout their decade in power. He has performed similarly as critic defending public healthcare, a big spending system that Liberals aim to privatize, American style.
Another thing that appeals to me about Dix is his forthright style and personal discipline. He can be an effective debater and has an excellent record of constituent service and a reputation for diligent work habits. He understands the political game better than most and will not tolerate a divided caucus as Carol James did for too long. The candidate’s entry into the leadership race focused on his opposition to BC Liberal policies.
I believe inequality is not only morally wrong, it is expensive for our society. Analysis from all over the developed world demonstrates that the polarization of wealth and power and the growth of poverty have very significant financial and social costs for the entire community.
Regular readers of In-Sights will recognize my attraction to that statement. It sets a course 180 degrees from that of Gordon Campbell, his masters and toadies.