Feature Story                                                                                                     Saturday January 14, 2012


Yo, Adrian!

BC NDP Leader has eyes of the tiger on Chilliwack

Craig Hill/Voice photos


NDP Chilliwack-Hope nominee Gwen O'Mahony talks with reporters while party leader Adrian Dix (C) and nominee Dennis Adamson look on last Thursday at Decades Coffee on Wellington Ave.


C NDP Party leader Adrian Dix had the gloves on and came out swinging last Thursday in Chilliwack, at the Liberal Party's negative advertising. Dix was in town to formerly introduce the Chilliwack-Hope riding candidate nominees and pump-up-the-volume for the by-election rumored to be happening sometime in March.


The by-election was triggered by MLA Barry Penner’s resignation announcement late last year, and then made official in a letter last week. As an aside, according to Elections BC, because Penner is quitting his post prior to the provincial elections May 14, 2013, it will cost taxpayers approximately $625,000 to replace him.


Lately, Dix has been up against the ropes and taking flurry after flurry of punches to the solar plexus in the media, as Liberals dish out personal attack ads against him.

“I think BC is at a crucial moment, not just in our economy but in our politics,” he said in his opening statement to reporters and a small crowd of supporters. “As you know the Liberal Party, has been running negative attack ads now for five months. In September of last year, they started running a series of inaccurate attack ads on John Cummins, not on me – the Conservative Party leader.”

“They proceeded in October, to launch a negative website, a personal attack website against me – I had to in fact phone my mom and tell her it’s true, that I have taken a bad picture – I think every bad picture I've ever taken is on that web site,” he said.

“Then in December they launched another negative ad, a personal attack ad against me, and now as you know they're running those personal attack ads on television all the time, and that's the way, I guess, the Liberal Party thinks they can be successful in politics,” said Dix.

The Liberals attack ad sideshow seems to have Dix rattled because he kept referring to them throughout the media conference, but he remains adamant his party won't engage in those kind of tactics.

“Am I going to respond to Christy Clark and the Liberal Party's negative attack ads, by launching negative attack ads on them? I say no. We will respond, we intend to respond in a positive way and talk about the issues that matter with you.”

Dix spoke glowingly of the trio of top guns when referring to Chilliwack-Hope candidate nominees Gwen O'Mahony, Dennis Adamson and Kathleen Stephany, who was absent due to an ailing parent.

"This constituency, and this whole region, has been taken for granted by the Liberal Party for too long,” said Dix. “We are running, we are confident in our candidates, we are going to put a positive message out about the issues that matter to people and I'm very proud there are so many people here willing to make the sacrifice and to represent the NDP."

“The Liberals have taken us for granted and are not doing us justice,” said Adamson who is also the Fraser Valley Regional District Area B Director. “I believe the NDP is a party that's for the people and will give people the better deal.”

O’Mahony, who is no stranger to election campaigns, said she’s knocked on 11,000 doors up and down the valley and has seen some changes over the last few years.

“I've been around since 2009, and there is a building momentum that is happening out here, we've seen numbers go up already in the last federal election, so I'm really excited about this campaign,” she said. “It’s going to be like no other campaign that's ever happened out here in Chilliwack-Hope.”

Dix spoke about using BC resources to create jobs in BC and how crucial to the forest industry that is. He also wants more talk about the reinstatement of "Buy BC" and a commitment from institutions such as the Fraser Health Authority to support local small businesses in their purchasing, particularly for food.

Adrian Dix (C) is flanked by Chilliwack-hope candidate nominees hopefuls Gwen O'Mahony and Dennis Adamson.

“Here we live in one of the best agricultural regions in the world and our public agencies recently do not even consider buying locally.”

Dix said that because 80-per-cent of jobs now requires post secondary education, there’s “never been a time in the history of the province when having a high quality education is so important.”

He also stated that the last 10-years, the Liberals have been out of touch with BC and used the Time-Out seniors program, axed in Chilliwack last year for lack of funds, as an example.

“The ads they ran for the HST, the partisan ads they ran with public money, would have run the Time-Out Program for about 50-years, and when governments do that, what it tells you after 10-years is they're out of touch.”

In the last provincial election, the NDP garnered about 34-per-cent of the vote in the Chilliwack-Hope riding but still couldn't manage to break the decade-long Liberal chokehold on Chilliwack.

Dix said the Liberals seem “obsessed with their problems and intergovernmental relations” regarding the HST repayment plan and accused them of “playing fast and loose with the economy”, adding that it took 11-months to bring in the tax and 19-months to nix it.

“The fact is the HST is still in place, they have no timetable to get rid of it, there are no transition rules,” he said. “They said they weren't going to bring it in, on paper, and they mislead people, including people in Chilliwack-Hope, they went on to bring in the HST and it only took them 11-months to bring it in, to get rid of a PST that was in place for 62-years and bring in a new tax.”

So, until May 14 next year, Dix will have to bob and weave his magic, float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

The Chilliwack-Hope NDP Nomination Meeting is at 1 P.M., January 28 at the Mt Cheam Lions Club Hall, 45580 Spadina Ave. (next to Evergreen Hall).


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