Two political scientists say that NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix will motivate people to vote

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      Among the three perceived frontrunners in the NDP leadership contest, only Adrian Dix speaks to core New Democrat values, which can reinvigorate the party, say two political scientists.

      In separate phone interviews with the Straight, UVic’s Dennis Pilon and Langara’s Peter Prontzos also indicated that the Vancouver-Kingsway MLA has greatest potential to get people excited again about politics.

      “I think a lot of the New Democrats feel that the party is constantly apologizing for its ideas; it’s constantly suggesting that it’s not going to be what other people say it is,” Pilon said.

      According to the UVic political science professor, Dix is like his ex-boss and former B.C. premier Glen Clark, who was good in reaching out to the NDP base by striking on key themes like “the rich are getting off easy”.

      “Dix is effective like Clark was effective in really speaking to issues,” Pilon said. “And I think Dix is absolutely right to say New Democrats should stop apologizing for their record because you know if they keep avoiding that question, it will never go away.”

      Pilon said that the two other frontrunners—Mike Farnworth and John Horgan—are close policy-wise to former leader Carole James, “which is this kind of cuddle up to business: 'Let’s talk friendly to these people who are never going to support the party'.”

      “In that sense, I think they repeat what Dix is kind of challenging, which is get up off your knees, let’s defend ourselves, and what our vision is for the province,” he said.

      Pilon also said that “by standing up and saying some people in this province are getting the shaft”, Dix can bring “a lot of people who felt no one is talking about them back to politics”.

      Prontzos, who has ran provincially and federally for the NDP, said the race is “shaping [up] primarily between people who want to continue the same path the NDP has taken under Carole James”.

      “Although he wasn’t one of the dissidents, I think Adrian Dix is trying to move in a more progressive direction,” Prontzos said. “I think that’s probably the most interesting dynamic.”

      According to the Langara political science instructor, Dix’s strong emphasis on addressing inequality is very encouraging.

      “Not only is inequality a moral dilemma, but it correlates to every kind of social ill you could think of—whether were talking about homelessness, teenage pregnancies, crime, murder rates, obesity, child mortality, dropout rates,” he said. “About every negative social indicator you could think is clearly correlated with social inequality.”

      According to Prontzos, candidates like Farnworth are apparently taking the line that as long as conditions are made right for business to prosper, everybody else will benefit.

      “Pursuing the sort of centrist or even small ”˜l’ Liberal approach that Carole James did certainly didn’t work out,” Prontzos said. “Given that the NDP has to go up against the larger contributions and campaign chest that the Liberals have, and with their media disadvantages, as well, rather than saying [they] were Liberals with a heart, they should actually show some leadership and inspire people—especially people who don’t vote, not because they’re apathetic but because they don’t see a huge difference perhaps between the Liberals and the NDP.”



      Strong New Democrat

      Jan 28, 2011 at 6:12pm

      Gee - saying Adrian Dix is like Glen Clark might not be a big help.
      I would be happy with any of the three frontrunners and Dix has looked appealing. I lean now toward Horgan as he has little to no baggage compared to Dix.

      glen p robbins

      Jan 28, 2011 at 6:18pm

      I agree with the general theme but they are missing the integrity question. In the post Campbell political era that questions will loom as large as any issue.


      Jan 28, 2011 at 9:29pm

      Allow me to conclude where GPR has left us to inference. Just as Gordo's flat out lies about the BC Rail unsale (990 year lease is not a sale) and the fraudulent introduction of the HST (it wasn't on the radar screen prior to the election), Mr. Dix's relationship with the truth also has credibility problems. Mr. Dix's most notable fraudulent action was his admitted backdating of a memo to provide political cover for his boss, then premier Glen Clark, after the cops raided Clark's house in the notorious casinogate scandal. This admittedly fraudulently backdated memo, is linked here.


      Jan 29, 2011 at 10:48am

      We're lucky to have 3 leading contenders for the BC NDP. Sadly lacking is a woman candidate. Guess after the way Carole James was treated, most women would think twice before jumping into the fray.

      Let's hope the new leader is strong on equity.

      John Billstrom

      Jan 29, 2011 at 12:02pm

      Most people will be voteing against the Liberals not for the NDP.
      Leadership is not really a issue but platform is.

      1 Drop the HST.

      2 Ask Ottawa for all money and services we are owed. Crows nest rate, passanger rail service, Bridge to Vancouver island. If they do not pay then
      leave confederation.

      3 Throw out the RCMP this will save money and lives.

      4 Tax the rich not the middle class. No loopholes or tax shelters. No richfare.

      5 Drop the ALR it only increases the cost of homes. Also reduces the number of construction jobs.

      6 Tax and increase the insurance on SUVs and other expensive gas wasters, a $5000 tax on new SUVs.


      Jan 29, 2011 at 12:39pm

      Dix is the only candidate so far I have heard mention inequality. I am tentatively going with him until the others start to bring it up as a problem.

      Ray I

      Jan 29, 2011 at 1:18pm

      Dix will certainly motivate me to vote....for the BC Liberals! He makes Glen Clark (Casinogate) and Mike Harcourt (Bingogate) seem down right ethical!

      former activist

      Jan 29, 2011 at 9:25pm

      Ray, your mention of Harcourt and Bingogate is inaccurate in truth as Bingo gate was perpetrated by David Stupich almost 20 years before Harcourt was premier. The media just beat Harcourt to death with it until it became too big of a distraction. We lost one of the best Premiers ever over a BS media crucifixion. Mike took the fall for the team and we all lost.

      Stewart MacKenzie

      Jan 30, 2011 at 7:40am

      .....and Dix's mentor Glen Clark, along with Georgetti, MacPhail, Sihota, and co., was happy to help force Harcourt out the door so Clark could take over.

      Mr. "the rich are getting off easy" had no problem going to work for BC's quintessential capitalist once he had devastated the NDP. His anti-wealth rhetoric was about as sincere as World Wrestling blowhards threatening to do lethal mayhem on their opponents, only to team up with them the next week.

      Dix's support from the old gang, including the willingness of party brass to overlook his sign up irregularities, is one of the best reasons to vote for Farnworth, who at least won't alienate a big chunk of the party, and isn't tainted with ethical breaches.

      Apologists will overlook Dix's ethical challenges, but they make him an easy target for the Right and have already affected his standing with the public as his polling results have plummeted while Farnworth's rose. Mike is looking like the best hope for a party which wants to win , Dix is a blast from the past and represents much of what is wrong with the party.

      Bill Tieleman's strong support for Dix raises a question in my mind as to where Dix stood in the caucus "revolt" - was he really a James loyalist or just allowing others to take the heat so he could run for leader without the tarnish of having helped bring down James? We all know where Tieleman stood on Carole's leadership - did he have a bigger agenda all along?