NDP's Adrian Dix says he's a candidate of substance, whereas Christy Clark only offers style
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In addition to forcing the B.C. Liberals to appoint an independent representative for children and youth, Dix cited his record in bringing insulin pumps to children with Type 1 diabetes and his work on a successful campaign to stop three schools from being closed in Vancouver-Kingsway.
"I don't think there is anyone, any MLA in the legislature, certainly on the Opposition side, who has been able to achieve as much as an Opposition MLA," Dix said. "As premier, I think I would do the same thing [and create] broad coalitions to bring people together and achieve results. That's what matters in politics."
Dix questions the need for a Site C dam
One of the biggest decisions facing the next government is whether or not to proceed with the proposed $5-billion to $6.6-billion Site C dam on the Peace River. According to a 2002 consultant’s report, the 1.1-kilometre earthfill dam—which would include 300 metres of concrete structures—would flood 4,600 hectares of land and another 4,840 hectares of the watercourse.
Dix accused the B.C. Liberal government of contracting far more power, at expensive rates, than the province needed.
“A phony definition of self-sufficiency in B.C. has driven all these private power projects,” he said. “So we’ve now got a surplus of very expensive power, and the consequence of that is massive increases in Hydro rates. That’s one of the consequences. The other is some environmental damage. And I think that is the reality we’re facing, which is that we’re overcommitted now to [an] expensive private supply of energy, so that raises questions about the need for Site C power.”
In addition, Dix stated that the B.C. Liberal government has refused to include the downstream benefits from the Columbia River Treaty in its calculations of energy self-sufficiency.
Under the 1964, agreement between the U.S. and Canada, B.C. was required to build three dams to store 15.5-million acre-feet of water in the Columbia Basin. This increased the opportunity for power generation south of the border. In return, B.C. received one-half of the extra power, which it sold for US$254 million over a 30-year period.
Those sales contracts expired between 1998 and 2003, at which point these supplies of electricity returned to B.C. Most of the power could be received near Blaine, but according to a paper by George Hoberg and Christopher Mallon, B.C. Hydro continues to sell these downstream benefits into the U.S. market.
“We could take them any time we wanted to at Blaine—if we wanted the downstream-power benefit,” Dix said. “They’ve excluded that from consideration when they talk of self-sufficiency. Why? Because they only contract for more power that’s very expensive."
He claimed that the effect of this decision is to shift the benefit of the publicly owned dams over to private contractors, which detracts from the public interest.
Video: Adrian Dix tells Straight editor Charlie Smith that he’s not conceding any votes on the environment.
In the 1990s, Dix sat on the board of B.C. Hydro and was involved in some controversial decisions, including a plan to proceed with a natural-gas pipeline to Vancouver Island, which would fuel gas-fired power plants. When asked about this and other questionable environmental moves during the Glen Clark era—including the removal of the Six Mile Ranch from the Agricultural Land Reserve—Dix responded that the NDP government also created a huge number of parks, improved environmental standards, and enhanced the environmental-assessment process.