Dix walks into Kamloops, promising grants for students
The snow may have fallen in the Tournament Capital during a visit by provincial NDP Leader Adrian Dix, but there is nothing cold about the fortunes of his party.
According to recent polls, the NDP has a nine per cent lead over the governing Liberals, with the B.C. Conservative Party running third.
However, Dix dismissed claims the Conservatives are vote-splitting, arguing the notion is "hugely disrespectful to voters."
Instead, he said it was the Liberal party expressing contempt for voters.
"They [Liberals] shouldn't talk about vote-splitting. They should do better," Dix told KTW.
He noted that, in the two previous provincial elections, the Green party and NDP combined for more than half the vote, but the party's results were not blamed on vote-splitting.
He argued political leaders and their parties need to earn people's votes and his job as Opposition leader is to provide a credible program to voters.
Dix also added having four parties all competing for votes is good for democracy.
The NDP leader was in Kamloops Monday, Nov. 7, to announce a plan to reinstate non-repayable grants for university students, if his party is elected in May 2013.
The plan calls for $100-million program, which would be paid for by reinstating a minimum tax on banks in B.C.
Dix also weighed in on the proposed Ajax mine project south of Aberdeen.
The mine is undergoing a comprehensive study that includes a working group.
The NDP has urged Environment Minister Terry Lake to support a Kamloops city council motion to ask for a federal independent-panel review of the controversial project.
Dix criticized the provincial environmental-assessment process, adding a panel review by the federal government "makes sense."
He pointed out the differences between the assessment process on the Prosperity Mine project near Williams Lake, which was approved by the province but rejected by Ottawa.
Dix called the contrast in the reports "embarrassing" to the province.
He blamed the Liberals for dismantling the regulatory process around environmental assessments.
Dix said Lake's job as environment minister and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA is to make sure the process is adequate.
"That is what the people in Kamloops should expect him to do and that is what he is not doing now," Dix said.
Lake has argued the provincial process — when harmonized with the federal government, — actually may be better in that it allows people to have their concerns and opinions noted and addressed early in the process through the working group.
Dix said it's also time for Liberals to show leadership in the case of Community Living B.C., the government organization that has continually received negative press over group-home closures and cuts to service for the disabled.
Rick Mowles, the former CEO of CLBC, will receive $345,000 in severance pay after being fired by the board of the organization.
Dix said the Liberal government is increasing executive compensation while bringing in a net-zero mandate for government employees.
He said the net-zero policy should also be included for salaries of top executives in government.