The man who expects to be British Columbia’s next premier gave a surprisingly short, and low-key speech to conclude the NDP’s 50th annual convention on the weekend, promising to win the next election battle by being positive and predictable.
Adrian Dix, who on Saturday addressed the convention for an hour, speaking without notes, ran up onto the stage again Sunday and said he was going to deliver another marathon monologue.
“Welcome to the second half of my speech,” he said to laughter, shortly after one of his biggest supporters, BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair. had delivered a rousing call to arms, praising Mr. Dix’s leadership abilities.
But instead of going on for an hour, Mr. Dix was done in just over six minutes, leaving to thunderous applause from the delegates.
Coming down from the stage, he shook hands, gave high fives and distributed hugs to the delegates who, like Mr. Dix, seem primed for an election that is still 17 months away.
Afterward, Mr. Dix said he and the party are ready to fight the Liberals, led by Premier Christy Clark, but that he is going to do so by stressing positive messages as he lays out a detailed plan for the province over the next several months.
He said it is unusual to be talking about party platforms so far ahead of an election, but he wants British Columbians to know where he wants to take the province, so there are no surprises.
On Saturday Mr. Dix talked about some of the priorities his government would have – saying he has a “modest” strategy of expanding postsecondary education to train more skilled workers, and that he will use B.C.’s abundant natural resources “to create good paying jobs,” among other things.
On Sunday, he didn’t offer any specifics, but said he will be striving to remain on a positive message track throughout the campaign for the election on May 14, 2013.
“It’s going to be a battle. The Liberal Party has lots of money, they’re out of ideas … [all of you know]how negative politics works. Well, we’re going to try something different this time. … I believe it’s important to have a positive message … and that’s the way we’re going to run this campaign, a campaign that you can be proud of,” he said.
Mr. Dix told the delegates, who earlier in the day had heard from NDP national interim leader Nycole Turmel, that the party is on the verge of winning victories both nationally and provincially.
“This is our moment in history,” he said to loud applause.
Just before Mr. Dix’s short speech, Mr. Sinclair had delivered a rallying call to delegates, telling them that the NDP had come close to winning the past two provincial elections, and couldn’t fall short again.
“We lost the last election by 3,800 votes and the one before by 2,500 votes. We can’t do that again … and I’ll tell you [why]we’re not going to lose. … We’re going to organize every one of those [provincial]ridings so we get every one of those votes out,” he said.
Mr. Sinclair, who appeared to be referring to the narrow margin of defeat in several ridings, not the total numbers of votes that went to the party in the last election, said the NDP can win by getting out the vote.
He said the party, which had a deficit after the losing the last election, will win this time around because of the hard work of union members, not because of money.
“People say, ‘Jim, how big is your war chest for the election?’ I say it’s big, really big. ‘Well, how big is it?’ I say it’s about 450,000 people big,” he said referring to the BC Federation membership, before being drowned out by applause.