How Adrian Dix is making life tougher for Christy Clark
Yesterday, I listened to NDP Leader Adrian Dix on CKNW discussing his concerns about Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
I was struck by how often he told host Jill Bennett that the B.C. government has to "take responsibility" for this project.
This was the language he used to justify why an NDP government would launch a provincial environmental review.
Dix declared on August 22 that an NDP government would invoke a clause in a 2010 agreement with the feds that would allow this provincial evaluation to occur.
(The previous week, Dix was noncommittal on this issue in an interview with the Straight, only saying it was "one of the clear options".)
By claiming that the B.C. government has to "take responsibility" for the project, the implication is that Premier Christy Clark and her cabinet colleagues are acting irresponsibly.
Dix is no fool. He knows that invoking "responsibility" works well with CKNW's right-wing listeners who might otherwise have concerns about his party.
Similarly, Dix has often presented economic arguments against the Enbridge proposal, declaring that it poses a threat to the livelihoods of people working in coastal communities.
There's a lot of chatter from the NDP these days about the value of the fishing and tourism industries along the coast.
You practically never hear NDP MLAs focus their arguments against the Enbridge pipeline on the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that will be added to the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
The extent of Arctic sea ice is at an all-time low right now, thanks to all the greenhouse gases being spewed around the world. This tangible proof of global warming means we can expect more extreme weather events and more weather-related fatalities in the future.
By not highlighting this aspect of the debate, Dix and the rest of his caucus avoid raising the ire of the right-wing climate-change-denial movement.
This has made Dix a difficult target for the B.C. Liberals—who would like nothing better than to label him an economic illiterate—and partially accounts for his remarkable success in recent opinion polls.
But over time, it may raise questions in some voters' minds about the degree to which the B.C. NDP under Dix is committed to educating the public about climate change.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.