One of the things that impressed the Wilderness Committee’s Ben West during the B.C. NDP’s leadership race was how each of the candidates visited the Vancouver-based environmental group’s Gastown offices.
“Adrian Dix came in without an aide and he spoke with us for an hour and a half or so,” West said by phone. “Both Mike Farnworth and John Horgan did the same.”
Now that the NDP membership has elected Dix as new party leader, West suggested that Dix, like Farnworth and Horgan, “has strengths and weaknesses”.
West said he is pleased to see that Dix explicitly referenced hydraulic fracturing in his campaign literature, later telling the Straight he wanted to see a review of the industrial practice through the provincial Environmental Assessment Office.
“That did seem to be one issue he was particularly strong on,” West said. “I also really liked his position on Raven Coal on the Island. He seemed quite concerned about it and wanted to do something about it.”
All NDP leadership candidates seemed to “get” the notion that the carbon tax should be applied to industrial polluters, West added.
“I like the language that Dix has been using about not using the carbon tax revenue as a tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest people in the province, but in fact to take that money and put it into public transit,” he said. “I think the big question that remains, and this probably would have been the case no matter who won, is, will these guys actually commit to putting forward a plan that is based around science-based emissions-reduction targets, and will they really make the link between things like stopping the highway-building frenzy and shifting towards public-transit investment?”
Added West: “I’d like to see the price of the [carbon] tax go up, not just who is paying it. The price of it needs to increase. Also, getting serious about reducing emissions in absolute terms. That’s really where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.”