It’s official: Adrian Dix stepping down as BC NDP leader next year
Read this Sept. 18 story from The Globe and Mail on NDP Leader Adrian Dix’s announcement that he will step down as leader – but not until next year so he can help the party rebuild and find a new leader.
Adrian Dix has announced he will step down as leader of the B.C. New Democrats, four months after a stunning election loss saw his party’s best opportunity in decades to form government evaporate in the space of a four-week campaign.
But Mr. Dix is delaying his exit until next year to help steer the party through a renewal process before handing the reins to a new leader.
At an emotional news conference after telling his caucus privately, Mr. Dix maintained his decision to run a positive election campaign was the right choice, but said the party needs to look at how it could do better to communicate its goals and ideals to voters.
“It has become clear to me that the best interests of our party mean that I need to step aside for a new leader, who can lead us to victory in 2017,” he told reporters.
His announcement leaves the party with a large question of how to rebuild and renew when it seems locked in the role of opposition.
Just five months ago, Mr. Dix appeared poised to become B.C.’s next premier. Heading into the election campaign this past April, his party was focused on curbing expectations and working out transition plans. But that confidence led to some costly missteps – including a poorly executed policy flip-flop and a failure to define the ballot-box question.
On May 14, Mr. Dix and his team were utterly devastated by the outcome: Not only did the B.C. Liberals capture a fourth consecutive term, but the NDP had a reduced number of seats and a smaller share of the popular vote.
On Wednesday, Mr. Dix stood alone on the stage without any of his MLAs – which a party source said was his choice. It was a symbol that he was bearing responsibility for the loss.
Mr. Dix’s decision to stay on in the interim appeared to be accepted by members of his caucus, who were prepared for such an exit. In the days before his announcement, prominent party activists had suggested the party needs time before embarking on a divisive and expensive leadership race.
Matt Toner, a star candidate who lost, applauded Mr. Dix’s decision. “Anything that can stabilize the ship is welcome.” he said. “The obsession of changing the leader has been distracting us from the real question of how do we appeal to mainstream voters.”
He said Mr. Dix has bought the party some time to look at reform.