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Adrian Dix paces in the hallway in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)
Adrian Dix paces in the hallway in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)

B.C. NDPers in no mood to blame Dix for party’s defeat Add to ...

Adrian Dix has taken the rap for one of the most unexpected defeats in B.C NDP history and party delegates seemed in no mood Saturday to blame him further.

The B.C NDP leaders name never came up during an often-exasperated delegate debate on how the party blew a double-digit lead last May and remained in opposition.

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Delegates were debating a resolution to expedite responses to a panel report on the NDP's defeat in the election that saw the Liberals, under Christy Clark, re-elected to a fourth consecutive majority mandate.

Although the debate was scheduled for about an hour, one delegate proposed a motion to extend discussion among 800-plus delegates by 20 minutes arguing the issue was the most important at the three-day gathering. The motion failed.

The closest to a reference to Mr. Dix was a delegate's reference, at the microphone, to the party's devotion to positive campaigning - a principle of Mr. Dix that he is still forcefully touting.

"We couldn't fight back," said the delegate, a campaign manager from West Vancouver expressing his frustration at how this approach left the party defenceless against the B.C Liberals.

"These guys are tough nuts. They know how to get at us," he said at the microphone.

Other delegates chided the party for failing to connect with young voters and voters who only tune in for the campaigns.

Cindy Oliver, chair of the four-member election review panel that was championed by Mr. Dix, said she wasn't surprised the NDP leader got a pass.

"I think (delegates) got what we said in the report. There is no smoking gun," Ms. Oliver said in an interview after the debate.

"Everybody wants (the smoking gun). Everybody is looking for it. You know why? Because it is easy."

But she said the more challenging reality is that the party lost for various reasons including a failure to effectively poll ridings the party needed to reach government, the positive campaigning approach touted by Mr. Dix, complacency fuelled by publicly available polls, and a failure to effectively connect with ethnic communities.

Although the report has been out for several days, Ms. Oliver itemized the failings from the main stage of the convention in a presentation at odds with the defiant optimism of much of the rest of Saturday's proceedings.

But she said, recalling the view from the stage, that she knew the report had sunk in among the delegates because people were lining up to speak at microphones while she delivered her presentation.

"I knew that was a good sign."

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