Rookie provincial NDP Leader Adrian Dix may well face a provincial election this year, but he doesn't expect to surf the orange wave that swept the country during the recent federal vote.
Mr. Dix is mindful of the stunning success of his federal cousins. He tallies up popular vote counts and other statistics in an interview. The federal New Democrats won three more of B.C.'s 36 seats, bringing to 12 their standing in the province. Their popular vote share increased by seven percentage points.
But Mr. Dix, elected party leader last month, said every election stands alone. "There's no free lunch. There's no automatic transfer," he said, asked about the prospect of provincial New Democrats benefiting from the national party's results. "I respect the voters and I believe you have to go out and earn votes every day, earn people's respect and confidence every day, and that's what I intend to do."
Mr. Dix's views are in synch with those of others in the ranks of the B.C. NDP, who are cheering the successes of Jack Layton and his team but suggesting the local spinoffs are limited.
The first B.C. New Democrat to test the dynamic is David Eby. Next week, he faces Premier Christy Clark in a by-election in Vancouver-Point Grey that Ms. Clark called to secure a seat in the B.C. Legislature.
Mr. Eby, on leave from his post as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the federal election generated a tide of "excited volunteers" coming off successful NDP campaigns in various ridings.
But that's about it for aftereffects, he suggests. Local issues, distant from the debates of the federal vote, are resonating most intensely in the by-election. They include Ms. Clark's aversion to traditional all-candidates meetings in favour of one-on-one meetings with voters.
"There are traditional B.C. Liberal supporters thinking about voting NDP, but it's not because of Jack Layton and the federal election results," Mr. Eby said. "The orange wave is just in the background."
Still, many New Democrats say the federal results have boosted the enthusiasm of party members, which may spill over into the next provincial election in a way that's impossible to quantify.
Jan O'Brien, provincial party secretary, said New Democrats in British Columbia are taking notes on media strategies that worked for the federal party in B.C. "The issues may be different but there is an underlying infrastructure that helps you get your message across to supporters and voters," she said.
With their connections to the federal party, provincial New Democrats are tied to the outcome of the federal election in a way their B.C. Liberal rivals are not. The provincial Liberals and even the provincial Conservatives - expected to anoint former Tory MP John Cummins as their new leader on May 28 - take pride in their distance from their national namesakes.
Neither Ms. Clark nor Mr. Cummins would be talking about the results for federal Liberals or Conservatives in the way Mr. Dix talks about the federal NDP.
The Canadian Labour Congress has Mr. Layton on the speakers agenda for its convention in Vancouver next week, though Mr. Layton's office said he might not be able to make it because of his duties organizing his team to take over the role of the Official Opposition. As for helping out provincial New Democrats, "Mr. Layton will help when asked and if he is available to do so," said Karl Bélanger, the NDP Leader's press secretary.
Pollster Mario Canseco says Mr. Layton cannot win the next provincial election for the New Democrats.
"They need to connect on the economy and make sure those voters afraid of the NDP running the economy can be convinced this is a different NDP than was in B.C. in the 1990s," said the vice-president with Angus Reid Public Opinion.
Mr. Dix says he expects Mr. Layton will be successful in Ottawa. Victoria, says Mr. Dix, is his responsibility.
"It's our party, the B.C NDP that will have to continue to represent the interests of the people of B.C.," he said. "If we do that then we'll succeed."