With a new leader, there’s new hope – such as for the New Democrats in B.C.
Sunday’s choice of Adrian Dix as NDP leader has MLA Michael Sather hopeful about election chances, whenever a B.C. vote is called.
Sather voted for the new leader of the party who won Sunday’s leadership contest with 9,772 votes. Mike Farnworth was runner-up.
“I like Adrian because he’s not afraid to take on challenging issues, things that really differentiate us from the Liberals,” Sather said.
The split in the party, which developed last year, seems to have healed. Sather, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, was part of a group of 13 MLAs who called for then leader Carole James to step down.
Sather was supporting Vancouver MLA Jenny Kwan, who in December issued a blistering news release calling for James to step aside.
“There has been a steady erosion of our democratic principles. Debate has been stifled, decision-making centralized, and MLAs marginalized,” Kwan said.
That’s all history now, however, Sather said.
“We’ve had our first caucus meeting now and I think there’s a very high level of cohesion.”
He is confident about the party’s chances against new Liberal leader Christy Clark in the next election, whenever that happens, although fall is most likely.
“I don’t think there’s a very high sincerity factor in terms of what a lot of people feel about her.” Clark’s track record indicates that governing doesn’t seem to be one of her strengths and that she’s trying to rebrand herself.
“But I don’t think it’s clear that people have a very high trust factor with her.”
The legislature resumes sitting next week and Clark will have to wait until a May 13 byelection in former premier Gordon Campbell’s old riding of Vancouver-Point Grey before she can get a seat, assuming she wins the contest.
Sather likes Dix’s position on cancelling corporate tax cuts approved by the Liberals the last three years and applying the money to climate change measures, public transit or lower taxes elsewhere.
Dix said the plan would bring in $268 million this year and still keep corporate tax rates near the national average.
Sather agrees that an election this fall is more likely, after the May byelection for the premier and the June 24 mail-in referendum on the HST.
He wonders why his Liberal counterpart, Marc Dalton, in Maple Ridge-Mission is reviewing the petition sheets filed with B.C. Elections by the Done with Dalton campaign.
“I was really surprised about that,” Sather said.
Orgranizers recently abandoned their efforts to collect more than 14,000 signatures that could have led to a byelection in the riding and Dalton possibly losing the vote because of his support of his government’s introduction of the HST last year.
Dalton’s review of those names does have a “chilling” effect, Sather added.