Adrian Dix has promised a statement this week concerning his future as leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party.
It has widely been assumed the earnest, thoughtful politician who led the party to a stunning and unexpected defeat this year has no choice but to resign. Those who don’t want him to stick around have all but packed his bags for him.
And they have pointed out his many flaws. He’s not charismatic. He campaigned poorly. He took bad advice. He lost when he wasn’t supposed to lose.
His critics have been repeating that litany since the morning after election night. But there are also some good reasons to keep Mr. Dix. He’s a veteran politician now, and it is hard to think of anyone who would be more driven over the next four years to defeat Premier Christy Clark.
Here then are the top reasons he deserves a second chance:
10 – Nobody else in the party would have beaten Ms. Clark in that campaign. She peaked at the right time, played to her strengths perfectly and charmed the electorate. It was like a speed dating exercise, fast and fun, but British Columbians may yet wake up to regret the choice they made. And when they do, who better to turn to than steady old Mr. Dix?
Nine – Mr. Dix didn’t devise the losing campaign strategy, he merely executed it. Firing him for following the game plan would be unfair. A better idea would be to keep the campaigner and get rid of the strategists.
Eight – He knows now that by refusing to go with negative ads, he was robbed of a powerful weapon. Next time, he’ll be ready to respond to the Liberal attack ads.
Seven – During the election race, he only freelanced once – making a poorly thought-out announcement opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, without first discussing it with the party. He’ll never do that again.
Six – Mr. Dix didn’t dream up the idea of spiking the Kinder Morgan pipeline on his own, but despite all the criticism he’s taken, he’s never pointed the finger at anyone else. That kind of integrity should be seen by the party as strength, not weakness.
Five – He doesn’t have a lot of charisma, so there is nothing to wear off. Ms. Clark, on the other hand, has a smile that voters could grow tired of.
Four – NDP supporters were shattered when Mr. Dix failed to deliver victory. But why were those expectations so high? Because Mr. Dix had taken the party to the front, with his steady, even performance in the years leading up to the campaign. He took the lead, and then stumbled. But would it have been better to lose, expecting to lose, as Carole James did?
Three – There aren’t any “star candidates” ready to take over from Mr. Dix. Gregor Robertson already quit the party once. Why does he deserve a second chance if Mr. Dix doesn’t? As for David Eby, he beat Ms. Clark in her home riding when she was away campaigning across the rest of B.C. Nothing would make her happier than to fight him on even footing, on the provincewide stage.
Two – If he remains leader, the NDP can go on the attack as soon as the House resumes sitting. Without him, the party will be consumed by internal struggles, and then will go into the next election with another untested leader.
And the No. 1 reason the NDP should stick with Mr. Dix: Scar tissue. Because of his defeat, he is a tougher, smarter and more humble politician than he was before. He could beat Ms. Clark next time – and of course, nobody would expect him to.