Adrian Dix brings cultural literacy to the NDP leader's office, which could spell trouble for Christy Clark

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      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



      Apr 17, 2011 at 7:52pm

      I'm disappointed that you didn't mention Aboriginal People!!!

      Charlie Smith

      Apr 17, 2011 at 7:54pm

      The aboriginal people were not front and centre in Dix's campaign the way other communities were represented.

      Proud to be a New Democrat

      Apr 17, 2011 at 7:58pm

      Dix is smart as a whip! Dix is a message to the province that a change is gonna come!

      Steve Y

      Apr 17, 2011 at 8:45pm

      There are so many south asians because this group is easily manipulated by religious and ethnic leaders who are bribed by the pols. Notice the NDP didn't have a broad ranging recruitment drive like the BC liberals. It was a silent 7000 some south asians recruited overnight and then the NDP closed their membership up like a clam. They clearly did not care to ask the majority of British Columbians their opinion and did not want a large number of average people with opinions in their ranks. This was a bribery and pandering based leadership run. Congrats to the winner, clearly he is the dirtiest of the group.

      Harold Morin

      Apr 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

      There was no mention of Aboriginal people. However, the NDP party has a long history of patronizing aboriginal people. Review their record? Starting with the Dave Barret era. (1972)


      Apr 17, 2011 at 10:45pm

      I hope the Conservatives win a few seats from the Liberals or the Dix is finished. No one will forget how Carole was dumped.


      Apr 18, 2011 at 8:47am

      My most last memory oif Adrian Dix is him as a much younger man weeping in front of television news cameras as he resigned in disgrace as Premier Clark's chief beaurocrat. Dix had committed fraud againt the citizens of BC by backdating memo's to protect his boss in one of the many NDP scandals.

      Carolyn Jerome

      Apr 18, 2011 at 11:32am

      Weeping in front of the TV cameras: at least he showed remorse...too many politicians and aides ...i.e. witness birk vasi scandal no remorse and want to be paid money for their wrong doings. Yes, apologies, understanding ... go along way in building credibility..Need more people like Adrian.

      Scott Clark

      Apr 18, 2011 at 11:39am

      As Coast Salish I can assure you Dix has been there advocating on behalf of all people, particularly the most challenged groups, be it Aboriginal, recent immigrants, special needs and impoverished people. His, in the streets advocacy for public education and support for equality of conditions for opportunity was loud and clear when he spoke at the convention. It is true, the real work begins now. 50% of BC citizens did not vote in the last election and you can bet Aboriginal people did not get actively engaged. It is important on us all to encourage Aboriginal people to get involved in voting and the community we live in. We are the fastest growing ethnic group in Canada,youngest and most challenged, particularly in the urban environment. To my knowledge we lack leadership from our Aboriginal leadership to get involved in the institutions of democracy. At any rate, the doors are fully open, we just have to seize the opportunity.


      Apr 18, 2011 at 11:56am

      Re Showed Remorse, not even close to remorse, it showed that he had no spine. Not only did he comply with the conspiracy to defraud the citizens of BC, but also, when confronted with his fraudlent act, whitherd under the heat of the press. That is the sign of an ambitious person who is not remoresful but rather woeful because his political ambitions were shattered by his fraudulent act.