Pharmaceutical lobbyist and former Mike Farnworth backer Marcella Munro says Adrian Dix must quit

B.C. NDP rupture breaks open on the CKNW Radio airwaves

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      A key organizer on NDP MLA Mike Farnworth's 2011 leadership campaign has publicly called for Adrian Dix's resignation as party leader.

      Speaking on CKNW Radio's Sean Leslie Show, lobbyist Marcella Munro claimed that Dix "didn't carry a consistent message" in the last campaign. She called that a "very big contrast to Christy Clark".

      "I don't think you could look at his performance and say that he did the job that a leader needs to do," Munro told Leslie. "There was the Kinder Morgan flip-flop. That came as a surprise to a lot of people when he made that decision."

      She also criticized Dix for letting the B.C. Liberals define the economy as the main issue, rather than holding the governing party accountable for its record on health care and education.

      "We didn't really take the fight to them on those issues," Munro said.

      Leslie didn't ask any questions about her lobbying activities.

      Dix has been a harsh and consistent critic of big pharmaceutical companies in his political career.

      The provincial lobbyist registry lists Munro as a consultant lobbyist for 10 clients, including Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies.

      Otherwise known as Rx&D, this association represents brand-name drug manufacturers, whom Dix has accused of having undue influence over Premier Christy Clark.

      According to one lobbyist-registry page, Munro intends to arrange for a meeting "between an individual and a public office holder".

      In her most recent filing, there were six Opposition members identified as targeted contacts: Dix, Farnworth, Jenny Kwan, Bruce Ralston, Doug Routley, and Joe Trasolini. Trasolini was defeated on May 14.

      Her role as a lobbyist is: "To educate and inform members of the Official Opposition about Rx&D's analysis and research with regards to health policy and the role that pharmaceuticals play within the health care sector."

      Meanwhile, Dix has also been a relentless defender of the Therapeutics Initiative, which is a UBC-based independent pharmacological-research group that provides unbiased, evidence-based reviews of prescription medications.

      Clark eliminated provincial funding for this organization, whereas the B.C. NDP—with Dix as leader—promised to restore support in the last campaign.

      Earlier this week, Dix told CBC Radio that party leaders are sometimes better in their second campaigns. He also cited similar outcomes in this year's election and the 2005 and 2009 elections.

      In her interview with Leslie, Munro said that she thinks Dix needs to take responsibility for the party's defeat on May 14.

      "I'm a little frustrated that he doesn't seem to want to," she said. "Most of the people in the party think he's going to do the right thing and step aside, but I guess my gut says I don't think so."

      Munro also called upon B.C. NDP president Moe Sihota to quit.

      She told Leslie that she wants to encourage Farnworth to consider running for party leader again, saying he's best-suited to attract support from people who have voted for the B.C. Liberals in the past. 

      "The only ones who want Adrian Dix to stay are my B.C. Liberal friends," she quipped.

      Munro is with Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a downtown Vancouver lobbying company. 

      According to the B.C. lobbyist registry, her other clients are:

      • British Columbia Salmon Farmers AssociationGrieg Seafood, and Mainstream Canada.

      • Cement Association of Canada.

      • Natural-gas giant BG International Inc., doing business as BG Canada.

      • Target Canada, which is owned by the U.S. discount-retail giant Target.

      • Croplife Canada, which is a trade association representing pesticide manufacturers and plant biotechnology companies.

       The Future of Howe Sound Society. It's a nonprofit conservation organization.

      Recently, former NDP whip Gerard Janssen questioned the need for the B.C. NDP to change party leaders.

      However, former party president Sav Dhaliwal, a Burnaby councillor, has said that party president Moe Sihota and Dix should both resign.

      Dix has said that he will make an announcement on his future next week.

      Comments

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      19 Comments

      Bill

      Sep 14, 2013 at 10:12pm

      Yes, because as a member of the NDP, I'm going to take directions on the leadership of MY party from a pharmaceuticals lobbyist.

      islandcynic

      Sep 15, 2013 at 5:47am

      Gee Marcella you really want to help don't you? If that is so then you would not be endorsing Farnworth. We do not need another policy wonk and wet noodle to fight for us.

      Ray

      Sep 15, 2013 at 9:15am

      Marcella Munro. Vision Vancouver attack dog. And altogether, a nasty piece of work. Her denunciation of Dix can only be seen to help him immensely - with Ms. Munro coming out against the NDP leader, he might even decide to stay on to fight the good fight in 2017.

      Bill Miner

      Sep 15, 2013 at 10:14am

      Anybody who is a lobbiest should stay the hell out of it. personally I was totally turned off by the relentless phone calls for donates in the last election from the NDP's master plan. I do belive they need a new leader but somebody on the outside not within.

      Thomas Folkestone

      Sep 15, 2013 at 10:59am

      Thanks for shining a light here, Charlie. Lots of information in here most of us don't know.

      Kevin Logan

      Sep 15, 2013 at 12:29pm

      The question is why on earth is a Big Pharma lobbyist put up on mainstream TV to talk about the NDP during a campaign?

      Add this to Topp and his business association with his two partners who were KEY Clark Campaign people, then throw in Topps left and right hand campaign directors employed by Hill and Knowlton and the NDP essentially handed the campaign reigns to people who have a vested interest in ensuring success for their Clients more so than then that of the party.

      We have all sorts of rules dictating the role of any number of stakeholders in the election process, yet the NDP can just hand the reigns of the campaign machine to high level lobbyists with dubious priorities and contentious client lists, not to mention business partners.

      There oughta be a law, I tell ya.

      MarkFornataro

      Sep 15, 2013 at 1:36pm

      The fact that Dix supports Therapeutics Initiative so vociferously is at the top of my list as reasons I think he would make a great Premier- if he can only get elected. If he can get through that PR hurdle and win -I think he'd do well as Premier. It's that 'if' that leaves me ambivalent about him having a second go at it.

      Red

      Sep 15, 2013 at 2:03pm

      Adrian Dix's spin machine has kicked into action – but will Dix put his money where his fightback is by returning the $25,000 the party accepted from pharmaceutical companies before the May election?

      scout99

      Sep 15, 2013 at 3:03pm

      In response to Red's comments, Charlie Smith on twitter has disputed that dix's team instigated this piece. And for accurate figures on how big pharma donates: 11 to 1 towards the liberals. Anyone who knows this area of public policy is aware that Dix's stance and defence of TI has been a source of frustration for brand name pharma and their association. This bears out in the level of donations:
      • Johnson & Johnson — $49,121 to the Liberals, $0 to the NDP;
      • Pfizer Canada — $39,427 to the Liberals, $645 to the NDP;
      • GlaxoSmithKline — $32,412 to the Liberals, $0 to the NDP;
      • Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) — $26,000 to the Liberals, $450 to the NDP;
      • Merck Canada — $24,716 to the Liberals, $0 to the NDP;
      • Amgen Canada Inc — $23,275 to the Liberals, $0 to the NDP.

      mikeH

      Sep 15, 2013 at 3:40pm

      Good point Red. Time to walk the walk. Big supporter of ending corporate donations but not sure that Mr Dix is setting the kind of example we need. Heyman or Eby are the only hope.