B.C. NDP health critic Adrian Dix has dismissed recent talk of Vision Vancouver members forming a provincial centrist party as "trivial pursuit".
A story appeared in the Globe and Mail on July 27 with the headline, "Is it time for Vision B.C.?" Dix, who said he has friends in the municipal party and supported their candidacies in the last two civic elections, told the Straight this was the first time he’d heard of this idea.
"All of this stuff about parties and stuff is just trivial pursuit," Dix said by phone on July 28. "The key issue is health care and the budget and the HST [Harmonized Sales Tax] and the economy. These are the key issues. Our challenge as an opposition is to show where the government’s going and to provide and present an alternative, and we are doing both."
Dix recalled his claim shortly before the May election that health cuts were imminent—due to budget shortfalls—and that the B.C. Liberal government denied this in the lead-up to the vote.
"They hid the budget," Dix said. "They refused to let the health authorities even provide their budgets until after the election. So here we are sitting at the end of July, there’s a $360-million cumulative shortfall, and they’re having to deal with it in the middle of the budget year, which started April 1."
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair bluntly stated that he didn’t "see any merit or any proposal" regarding a Vision B.C. party.
"Obviously, we have some work to do to win the next election," Sinclair told the Straight. "But I don’t think anyone’s suggesting we have more parties around, because frankly, the more we split the vote, the more we lose. That’s the real truth."
Nicholas Simons, NDP MLA for Powell River–Sunshine Coast, told the Straight, "I think that it’s good that people are engaging in political dialogue. I’m not afraid of the discussion, and nor should anyone be. But I also believe that the NDP have a strong message, and they need to keep working on it and improving it."
Kevin Quinlan, Mayor Gregor Robertson’s executive assistant, told the Straight that Robertson has publicly denied Vision wants to go provincial.