Adrian Dix says he’s ready to sit in the hot seat as the B.C. NDP gathers for their first convention since losing a spring provincial election the party was expected to win.
The party leader has taken responsibility for the NDP’s defeat to the BC Liberals, who won a fourth consecutive majority last May. Still, the NDP’s flawed campaign is expected to be the key topic at the weekend policy convention. New Democrats went into the campaign last spring with a double-digit lead in the polls, but the Liberals rebounded with a jobs and economy-focused campaign under their leader, Christy Clark.
“There’s going to be moments of disagreement and criticism, but I think that’s what you need to do in a democratic party,” Mr. Dix told reporters on Friday at the convention centre venue for the gathering as workers set up for the meeting.
“You’re going to see an assessment of the election by this group and then you’re going to see a group resolutely turned to doing better and winning in the future.”
Mr. Dix says he has visited most of the candidates who ran for the NDP, and plans to have met all of them by the end of the year.
He noted he did not have to come to the convention to hear about the 2013 campaign, which continued a history of defeat for the party that has seen it only win power three times in B.C. history.
“ Every day, I get asked about the election on the Sky Train. It’s not a question of whether my skin is thick. We have to do better, and learn the lessons of the election and do better next time.”
Mr. Dix, elected party leader in 2011, has said he will vacate the leadership once the party picks a successor. The party is considering various dates for a leadership vote, ranging from 2014 to 2015.
“We got 40 per cent of the vote in the election, 716,000 votes, 34 MLAs and we have work to do and we’re going to continue to do that work on the opposition side,” he said.
The opposition leader said the NDP has to find more votes by taking them from other parties, and also coming up with a message that encourages new voters, especially younger ones, to come to the polls.
“I absolutely believe that we can not just win the next election, but establish a political base that will allow us to win consecutive elections.”