If there were any doubt that Adrian Dix won with the help of B.C.'s diverse communities, just check out who he's sitting with prior to the announcement that he had won the B.C. NDP leadership.
To his right was key organizer Mable Elmore, the first person of Philippine descent ever elected to the B.C. legislature and a former bus driver. She's the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Kensington.
Adrian Dix learns he has won the NDP leadership race.
To his left is his wife Renee Sarojini Saklikar, who moved to Canada as a baby from the Indian state of Maharashtra.
In the early part of this decade, Saklikar worked with Dix at the Source, which is a local newspaper focused on diversity. She has a keen interest in multiculturalism, as demonstrated in an essay she wrote for the Georgia Straight last year.
Dix was also sitting near a key organizer in the local South Asian community, Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains. He's a former labour-union official and woodworker and now, possibly the most influential provincial politician of South Asian descent.
Harry Bains explains why the NDP leadership race attracted so many new members from diverse communities.
"Many new members came on board, including South Asians, including Filipinos, including Vietnamese, including all those communities who have made this country and this province our home," Bains told the Straight shortly before the third-ballot results were announced. "I think all of them have wanted to be part of this change that we’re talking about and that we see here today.”
Dix recently joked to me that he's a middle-class intellectual. It's clear, however, that he is very comfortable receiving input from people with working-class backgrounds, which sets him apart from former premier Gordon Campbell.
If you pay attention to the first video, you'll also see Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang, who has long been a supporter of Dix in his Vancouver-Kingsway constituency. When Jang was president of Collingwood Neighbourhood House, he championed innovative programs to include diverse communities.
Another supporter close to Dix in the video is Jinny Sims, the Punjabi-born NDP federal candidate in Newton-North Delta.
Of course, Dix attracted a great deal of support from people from other walks of life. But had it not been for his outreach to multicultural B.C.—which set him apart from the other candidates in the race—he probably wouldn't have won.
As the MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, Dix has demonstrated an impressive understanding of the diversity that exists within different communities, be they Vietnamese, South Asian, Filipino, Chinese, or of any other background.
He is probably the most culturally literate provincial political leader in B.C. history.
This could present a major challenge to the B.C. Liberals, who've never had to deal with someone with so much insight in this area.
The B.C. Liberals won the last two elections because they fared so well in the suburbs of Vancouver. The arrival of Dix as NDP leader could be a game changer.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.