Today, NDP Leader Adrian Dix ramped up his criticism of the B.C. Liberal party's position on oil tankers along B.C.'s coastline.
In so doing, he's sent a direct message to voters of Lower Mainland constituencies, including Christy Clark's, that they should dump their B.C. Liberal MLAs if they're concerned about another Exxon Valdez–style accident fouling local waterways.
In a party news release, Dix "challenged Premier Clark to tell British Columbians where she stands on Kinder Morgan’s plans to dramatically expand oil tanker traffic off BC’s south coast, and on the Enbridge pipeline that would do the same off the north coast".
“The BC NDP does not support a radical transformation of the ports of Metro Vancouver into major oil export facilities,” Dix said in the news release. “The revised Kinder Morgan proposal would significantly increase tanker traffic passing by Stanley Park. Nor do we support ending the moratorium on oil tanker traffic on our North Coast."
He characterized Clark's stance on pipelines as "trust me".
“But if the price from Ottawa or Alberta is right, she’s prepared to support a massive increase in tankers and the environmental risks that they pose," he claimed.
There are political implications that flow from Dix taking this position in advance of the election.
Three Lower Mainland constituencies that the NDP is hoping to take away from the B.C. Liberals have a large number of environmentally minded voters: Vancouver-Point Grey, Vancouver-Fairview, and North Vancouver–Lonsdale.
In all three cases, the NDP has recruited star candidates with impressive green credentials.
Civil-rights lawyer David Eby is hoping to defeat Clark in Point Grey, which includes the main UBC campus.
George Heyman, who's been executive director of the Sierra Club of B.C., is challenging the health minister, Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, in Vancouver-Fairview.
This is the same constituency represented by Gregor Robertson from 2005 to 2008—and it's full of middle-class and upper-middle-class cyclists like Robertson, who care about climate change.
City of North Vancouver councillor and Langara history professor Craig Keating is taking on the minister of state for small business, Naomi Yamamoto, in North Vancouver–Lonsdale. The City of North Vancouver has one of Canada's greenest municipal governments, thanks in large part to Keating and the mayor, Darrell Mussatto.
Dix's criticism of the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline plans is solidifying their candidacies and threatening the premier's job as the MLA in Vancouver–Point Grey. Her constituency stretches west from Arbutus Street between Kits Beach and West 16th Avenue—an area heavily populated by environmentalists.
The NDP's stance will also help with aboriginal voters, who are, by and large, opposed to pipeline projects.
Keating's constituency includes a Squamish Reserve, and North Vancouver–Lonsdale's eastern boundary isn't far from the Tsleil-Waututh Reserve.
The Musqueam Reserve is just south of Vancouver–Point Grey.
Aboriginal people comprised five percent of the provincial population in the 2006 census.
In certain areas, such as Prince George, the percentage of residents of aboriginal descent exceeded 10 percent in 2006.
Dix needed to do something for these voters after mostly sidestepping the Idle No More movement and not calling for a ban on fish farms along wild-salmon migration routes.
Native voters can conceivably swing seats in the NDP's favour in up to 10 or more constituencies.
This point seems to be lost on B.C. Liberals, who've been quick to slam Dix's stance on pipelines.
It's one more reason why the NDP will probably win the election on May 14.