The B.C. NDP officially launched their election campaign today (April 16), choosing the Museum of Anthropology in Premier Christy Clark’s riding of Vancouver-Point Grey as their first stop.
Backed by candidates and supporters, NDP Leader Adrian Dix said the party will release its platform gradually over the first week of the campaign, on issues including environment, education, health care, and its relationship with First Nations in B.C.
“We’re going to lay out our agenda in the first eight days of the campaign, and then we are of course going to compare it to the agenda of the Liberal, Conservative and Green parties,” said Dix.
The event at the University of British Columbia took place just as Clark visited Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon in Victoria to ask her to dissolve parliament, and as the B.C. Liberals issued a news release calling on the NDP to fire Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk for what they described as “unacceptable and hateful statements against First Nations and French speaking Canadians”.
Dix later issued a brief statement indicating he was made aware of the “unacceptable comments” and that he had accepted Van Ryswyk’s resignation.
During this morning’s campaign event, Dix said his party plans to take a positive approach to the election.
“We’ve seen already the Liberal party and its allies run frankly what is the nastiest campaign I’ve ever seen in B.C. politics,” he stated. “Personal attack after personal attack, that’s their approach. And they believe in it. They’ve got a very skilled campaign team who believe that’s the right approach. I have a different approach.”
In response to questions about why the NDP chose Vancouver-Point Grey to start the campaign, Dix told reporters the riding is “a great place to start”.
“We’ve got a very strong candidate, and it shows that we intend to run everywhere and win everywhere and treat the voters with respect everywhere,” he said.
The leader also described issues related to the treaty process as a “top priority” for the party.
“I think some more progress can be made in the treaty process, but it’s not just the treaty process—there are many First Nations that aren’t in the treaty process,” he said. “So we have to, I think, address those issues. This has got to be a priority of the premier.”
David Eby, the NDP candidate in Vancouver-Point Grey, said the race “feels a bit like a re-match.” Eby lost the May 2011 byelection in the riding by less than 600 votes.
“I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors, I’ve been talking to my neighbours for a long time,” he said. “One thing is clear: here in Vancouver-Point Grey, people are ready for a change. Not just a change of government, but a change in the way we engage in politics.”
Clark launched her campaign with a rally in Victoria today. The B.C. Liberals released their election platform in downtown Vancouver on Monday (April 15).
Dix was scheduled to hold other campaign events around the city today, including a stop in his riding of Vancouver-Kingsway.