Opinion

MITCHELL'S MUSINGS

Adrian Dix is a pretty nice guy. I’ve met him a couple of times. Once when he was working for the Canadian Parents for French, B.C., Yukon branch, and once as opposition leader when he caddied at a charity golf tournament here in Vernon.

He came across as forthright, hard-working and earnest, maybe even a bit too much so, but as a genuinely decent guy. I must say, and he’d likely concur gladly, he didn’t know much about golf but was very generous and helpful in every other way as a celebrity caddy.

Reading a bit about him, I understand he’s also a workaholic and I’m sure he does what he does for all the right reasons.

I believe the reasons for the NDP’s staggering loss despite a huge lead is due to many factors, and his performance and lack of a detailed party plan for the economy that they could stick to was a big part of it, but I applaud him for taking responsibility as a leader.

Now he likely had no choice as the party faithful were likely looking for a fall guy and may think that you can’t go with the same face on a new campaign after such a devastating loss.

If they’re smart they’ll go for a younger, more charismatic leader who can shed some of the party’s baggage while remaining faithful to its labour roots (which seemed to get abandoned in a silly bid to outgreen the Green Party and pander to a Lower Mainland electorate that in the end didn’t trust them to run the economy anyway).

Of course that’s a tremendously difficult bill to fill and you never  know how a leadership campaign is going to turn out.

I  mean Christy Clark wasn’t supposed to win the Liberal leadership campaign let alone the election. Everyone, especially pollsters, said she was going to lose in spectacular fashion.

It shows campaigns count, it’s largely a popularity contest and people will say they’re going to vote against the government (which is what the NDP relied on far too much) but when it comes to the actual ballot box you better offer them a little more than “we’re not them.”

However, politics is a very fickle business. Just ask Gordon Campbell. Literally one day he’s basking in the glow of the ultra successful Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2008 and before you can spell HST he’s out as premier.

So it’s not like the NDP don’t have a chance next election, and they have time on their side.

And thanks to Dix stepping aside, they now have the opportunity to regroup, refocus, retool and just plain rejuvenate.

Meanwhile, Dix can continue to do what he does best over the next several months – he’s a very good opposition leader by all accounts and if the Liberals ever recall the Legislature he can do even more.

But I’d like to thank him for his efforts and wish him well. He’s staying on as MLA and if the NDP ever form government I’m sure he will have a high-profile position and do an admirable job.

However, what I’d also like to point out to all leaders is how refreshing it is to hear a politician take responsibility for his role in what transpired. You know, take ultimate responsibility as captain of the ship for the ship’s fate.

It’s a time-honoured tradition for a whole host of reasons and I commend Dix for doing the right thing.

The finger-pointing and lack of accountability on the Senate scandal, for one, comes to mind. The butt-covering and evasive answers, when the media actually gets to ask them, would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Alas, it’s what we’ve come to expect from federal politics.

So, again, thanks Adrian for your time in the brutal spotlight that is the political spectrum these days, and all the best in the future.

 

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