The NDP won’t run personal attack ads against Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals, provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix said Monday in the Comox Valley.
Speaking with reporters Monday before a town hall meeting with businesses and residents at the K’ómoks Band Hall, Dix feels people have grown tired of smear campaigns after the Liberals ran seven personal attack ads against him.
Less than a year from the next B.C. election, Dix said he prefers to address serious issues such as access to post-secondary education. For the past year, he has campaigned to reinstate non-refundable student grants.
“The average student ends up with a $27,000 student loan,” Dix said.
Noting a shortage of skilled workers in B.C., Dix criticized Clark for cutting the Ministry Responsible for Advanced Education and Skills Training — the only government ministry to be cut.
“We’re cutting apprenticeship programs in a skills shortage,” said Dix, who feels it is critical to consult with the business community to make apprenticeship work.
“One of the most important things for me is to break down barriers. The challenge for me is I am very serious about what we’re going to present to the voters. If we can’t afford to do something, we’re not going to do it.”
He considers the Liberals’ stance of balancing the budget by a one-time sale of assets as “reckless.”
He also feels the party has “eviscerated the financial base of BC Hydro.
“Right now we’re tipping water over our dams without producing electricity. We’re giving away our power to the United States and we’re buying it for $60 a megawatt.
“BC Hydro is supposed to contribute $600 million to the provincial tax base this year to pay for health care and education. They have 27 deferral accounts whose intent, according to the auditor general, is to create profit where none actually exists.
“It’s the reason I’m not going to do personal attack ads against the premier. I think we should try as much as we can to respect each other in politics.”
He notes 48 per cent of the electorate did not vote in the past provincial election, which the Liberals won 49-35. He and Comox Valley NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke are campaigning to “bring people back to the process.
“I think the way you bring people back to the process is to talk to them like adults with adult problems,” Dix said.
Locally, noting concerns of the shellfish and other industries, Dix would like to see a more serious, efficient environmental process for the Raven underground coal mine proposed for Baynes Sound. He notes the Jumbo Glacier project in the Kootenays has been in process since 1993.
“I think with an environmental assessment we need two things: one is we have to high standards and two, we have to get to decisions. It is very, very difficult for communities and for companies that are making investment decisions when you have processes that go on for too long.”
Dix feels the Enbridge pipeline proposed from Alberta to Kitimat threatens rivers and streams, and does not benefit the economy. He notes Coastal First Nations have said Enbridge hurts their economic development plans.
“There’s a reason we have a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the Coast since the 1970s. I think on the economic grounds and the environmental grounds the Enbridge pipeline doesn’t make sense.”