Stone dismisses Dix's Science World pledge
An hour before B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix was to speak at Thompson Rivers University on restoring funding for Science World's touring program, Todd Stone, the B.C. Liberal candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson, called the KTW newsroom.
"He's coming here to talk about Science World in Vancouver and failing to talk about the issues that matter to the people of Kamloops," Stone said in his 9 a.m. call on Friday, Feb. 15.
"He has yet to provide us any details on what his jobs plan looks like, what his vision is for this province, and all we get are these very minor announcements when he comes to Kamloops."
Stone said Dix should use visits to Kamloops to discuss his party's mining, forestry and agricultural policies, and to advance a plan for job creation in the region.
"Coming here and talking about Science World in Vancouver is, I think, very disrespectful to the people of Kamloops," he said.
"It's entirely a photo-op."
Following his appearance at TRU, Dix addressed Stone's comments.
"It's just that kind of partisan rhetoric the public is tired of," Dix said as his handlers handed out an eight-page B.C. Liberal document that spells out the party's three-phase pre-election campaign advertising strategy, estimated to cost $12.6 million between October and March.
In the documents, the Liberals state the Canada Starts Here BC Jobs Plan ad campaign "has helped decrease the credibility gap the government had."
Dix said the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent by the B.C. Liberals on what he called partisan advertising could fund the Science World touring program for more than a decade.
Tom Friedman, NDP candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson also called into KTW to express his "surprise" at Stone's comments.
"I think it's a very poor position to take and I'm really surprised at him. If he cares about this community he should be supporting this initiative," he said.
Friedman said given an expected skilled-labour shortage in B.C. and elsewhere, it makes sense to encourage children to explore science and technology careers, something Science World's roadshow accomplishes.
"The children of this community are gaining real, practical advantage from these science education programs and they'll be the ones getting the good-paying jobs in the future," he said.
"This is the kind of jobs plan that works for communities."
Stone called for the NDP to release its election platform so voters can compare the two parties.
"All we hear from the NDP is a million and one different reasons why this won't work, why that won't work, why you can't do this and why you can't do that. When are they actually going to tell us what they're for?" Stone said.
"They're gleefully rubbing their hands together, trying to figure out how to topple the government in Victoria. They're making announcements of who's going to run the civil services and probably sizing up drapes for the premier's office when British Columbians have not had their say yet. We haven't had the election."
Dix said his party will release its election platform when it is ready to do so, noting much depends on what is in the B.C. Liberal budget, which will be introduced in Victoria on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
"We have to look at the fiscal situation of the province before we can make an assessment," Dix said, noting the Gordon Campbell-led Liberals waited until the official campaign began before releasing their platforms in the 1996 and 2001 elections.
"We will review the budget and assess the situation," Dix said. "We are not promising things we cannot pay for."