Rafe: Dix Let Liberals Get Away with Murder


Christy Clark has pulled off the sort of miracle the Boston Bruins managed when coming back from a 4-1 deficit to the Leafs recently. One would be ungracious not to extend congratulations.

The story is more than a matter of manners, for the truth is that Adrian Dix blew the election – big time.

I warned the NDP over and over about how their campaign was letting the Liberals get back into the fight after the NDP had a 20 point advantage in the private polls.

With over two weeks to go in the election, I wrote in thetyee.ca and on this website:

It surprises me that Adrian Dix is playing softball with these issues. This is looking like ’09 all over again.

Mr. Dix, your position on the Kinder Morgan tanker port proposal was nice but marred by the delay. I told you many months ago that if you were opposed to Enbridge that logic should make you opposed to Kinder Morgan as the issues are the same.

Your position favouring LNG plants is puzzling, if only because you seem to be following Clark’s pied piper’s seductive path to supporting a dream that is almost certain never to come true.

To you, Mr. Dix, there is no way this government can win on its merits – you have to give it to them and you seem to be trying your best to do just this. What is truly troublesome is your amiable Adrian approach, with an endless stream of small policy announcements – sort of a fart a day.

I realize that people tell you that they want a politer politics in B.C. That’s what Bob Skelly tried in the ’80s and you know what happened to him.

Politics is a blood sport and your nicely, nicely approach is letting Premier Clark get away with murder. Despite a fivefold increase in the provincial debt, she’s painting you as wastrels and her government as careful money managers!

Your best issue, the appalling fiscal policy of the Campbell/Clark government, is being used as a positive thing for them and you are responding rather than attacking. We’re seeing a tactic similar to when agents acting for George W. Bush, a draft dodger, denigrated the much-decorated John Kerry’s war record so that he could lay claim to being strong on national defence. You’re becoming the essence of John Kerry, reacting weakly on issues that should have you on the attack!

On environmental issues you seem to be passive and non-threatening! These issues, along with the dismal Liberal record on money matters, ought to have you leading firmly, not cowering behind a cloud of good manners.

Mr. Dix, it’s yours to win and to quote the Baseball manager Lou Durocher: “Nice guys finish last.”

About 30 % of BC voters could not ever vote NDP. Never! And about 30% of voters are hard core NDPers and won’t budge. Overall, the balance must be persuaded to be part of one side or the other in the election being fought. To achieve this, the appeal must be led by a tough, well-informed leader who hits hardest and captures enough of the “swing” votes to win. That job is not for Goody Two Shoes.

The NDP are lousy campaigners. They should know that they really have only won one election – 1996 when Glen Clark, carrying the Raiwind-BC Hydro scandal, fought hard, out-campaigned Gordon Campbell and won in the trenches. The Barrett and Harcourt victories were as a result of the Socreds crashing. In 1996, the NDP had in the person of Glen Clark a leader who found the core issues and hammered them home.

How come the huge Campbell/Clark debt – 5 times higher than that left by the NDP – was not an issue?

Same with the scandalous private power scheme that has sent BC Hydro into virtual bankruptcy?

Same re: the pipelines and tanker issue?

How come Clark was able to portray the message that the Liberals, for God’s sake, were more to be trusted with fiscal issues than the NDP?

Where was the BC Rail fiasco?

By 9:30 on election night, champagne corks were popping in the corporations’ meeting rooms. The fish farmers won, big time! So did the pipeline/tanker gang.

If your eyes are young and steady you maybe able to see a faint, distant star. The Green Party elected a man who will bring a voice, if faint, for the environment. Vicki Huntington, a gallant fighter, will be there. So will be a man with good environmental genes and experience – George Heyman, who will likely be the next NDP leader. (You read it here first!)

I’m truly sad to say that the industrial/government coalition brings clearly into focus civil disobedience.

In the shorter term the environmentalists must gird up their loins, get back on their chargers and fight the bastards any way we can.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

2 thoughts on “Rafe: Dix Let Liberals Get Away with Murder

  1. Monday, 20 May 2013 11:33 posted by Lasnomadas

    I agree with everything you said, Rafe, but I’d like to add something that I don’t think has been brought up before.

    I worked in the NDP campaign office in my riding, and attended the all-candidates debate. The one thing that sent off alarm bells in my mind was how the NDP candidate answered the question: “If elected, and an important issue was being voted on in the legislature, would you vote with your conscience, along party lines, or with the voters in your constituency?

    After a whole bunch of political bafflegab, it was obvious to me that he would indeed vote along party lines. I think that alone cost him the election. The BC Liberal candidate was not well-liked by the electorate in this riding at all.

    Saturday, 18 May 2013 23:43 posted by Don Intermela

    More like 4 summers of discontent. Truly a sad day in Canadian history. At the age of 54, I am now preparing to risk ” civil disobedience ” as a last option in fighting the corporate entities who are about to pounce all over this political windfall.
    Big tarsands money, coupled with the Harper regime were instrumental in influencing the electorate in this campaign.

    Friday, 17 May 2013 10:16 posted by Laz

    I can’t blame people for wanting the jobs created by a pipeline, gas processing plant. Families need food. Sadly they were sold a pipe dream. Russia signed a 50 year agreement with China to supply LNG via a direct pipe line
    on April 22. Does anybody think it’s possible to outbid that deal with tanker deliveries? While the NDP concentrated on chicken crap, they totally ignored the implications of this pact. The outcome lead to four more years of lies and devastation. Remember the balanced budgets of the Campbel era? How can you have a balanced budget yet sink deeper in debt? I guess it’s coming back, and the people will buy it like they buy everything else.

    Friday, 17 May 2013 10:04 posted by Reinier Kanis

    Wow, in a nutshell much of what you say is so true; however in fairness hindsight has always been a 20/20 vision.

    The shear hypocrisy of people suggesting the Greens supporting our environment is hypocrisy; they put themselves and building a political organization over the best interests of our environment. Heck if they were not the NDP but the rhino party and they were going to protect our environment it would not matter. Get over the issue of who they are. Get on the issue of putting our environment first.

    There is no room for dividing the vote on protecting our environment, the NDP need to get on board or get off the pot. We have science to help us decide what we should save and how we can save it, so use science to decide what projects are not worth the cost.

    What we need to see is a radical shift by the NDP towards protecting our environment, not a shift in direction towards corporations or business, they don’t vote, the people who work for them do. PS: a great first step would be for George Heyman to run for the NDP leadership, without a doubt there needs to be a new leadership after this epic failure.

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:09 posted by Kevin Logan

    I just wanted to point something out in response to this common theme I am hearing from across the board.

    After this weeks devastating loss, we are beginning to understand the grip the petro state has on us.

    So people are reacting, with calls to arms and action. Civil disobedience and the like.

    Just a word of warning.

    Since the Boston Bombing, Harper has reinstated very harsh and draconian laws. The fact is right now, the government can arrest you, hold you for three days with no charges. AND – this is part is very important – in order to be released you would have to agree to “conditions” if you do not you will detained for a year.

    Yes you heard that right, arrested and detained for three days with no charges and no jurisprudence and conditional release, if you do not accept the conditions, say like not involving yourself in any sort of petroleum related insurgency, you will not be released for a full year.

    And a final note, those of you who signed on to the “Defend our Coast” action a little while back, you are the ones they are watching, and any move or direct action will find you detained and facing these circumstances.

    Think seriously about that and act accordingly.

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 18:18 posted by Bruce

    Has everything been said? Civil disobedience……………….It’s time for action. Our children will thank us. This is utterly shameful!

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 17:49 posted by Kevin Logan

    Regarding the Kinder Morgan earth day announcement

    If you look at the text of the entire media conference that day (in the interior of all places) The central and leading point was the revoking of the equivalency agreement but once again the media spun attention away from that, as they have worked very hard to ensure people were not aware of the EA and things like TILMA. (hence my video)

    The Kinder Morgan “announcement” was not included in the press package that day, was not anywhere forshadowed or even alluded to, but rather was an observation Dix made at the very end of the presser, and I think was just meant to clear the air on some of the confusion that the media played up around his positioning on pipelines. See it live here to get teh full impact of what I am saying.


    So the Kinder Morgan surprise was an aggressive, completely fabricated piece of spin, which overshadowed the communications goal and intent of the day and was successfully used to steal the pipeline positioning away from the DNP despite the brazen hypocrisy of it all. The EA was to “cerebral” better just bang him over the head and call him a flip flopper.

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 17:02 posted by Damien Gillis

    Bruce, I direct you to my comments on the subject in my own post-election analysis: “I joined others in pressuring the NDP to take a stronger stand against Kinder Morgan. There are those within the party who will blame this decision for their loss, cursing what they see as succumbing to the unreliable environmental vote. Bollocks. A Justason poll revealed that Dix’s Earth Day announcement was positively received by voters. But even if you want to discard that finding based on the wholesale discrediting of the polling profession last night, the decision itself is not the problem. The problem is, again, failing to frame it properly.

    Kinder Morgan would bring a few dozen permanent jobs to its updated tanker terminal in Burnaby, and truly paltry revenues to the province. Compare that with our “Super, Natural BC” brand and the $13.4 Billion a year tourism economy and 127,000 jobs it supports – all of which would be put at grave risk by an oil tanker spill. With a proposed 400 tankers a year through Vancouver Harbour, compared with just 20 before Texas energy giant Kinder Morgan bought the existing Trans Mountain line in 2005, we’re talking an exponential increase in risk. A simple cost-benefit analysis shows this is a terrible proposition for BC.

    Other leaders like Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan get this and are able to articulate the Kinder Morgan issue effectively in an economic context. Not so with the provincial NDP.”


    Thursday, 16 May 2013 15:38 posted by bruce

    No one is really talking about the role of the ENGO’s and the environmental movement in the election – perhaps because it is somewhat inconceivable that they would inadvertently help foster a Liberal win. These are the ones who pressured the NDP through targeted campaigns aimed at parties environmental platforms, specifically LNG and Kinder Morgan. We need to ask the question whether the NDP’s Kinder Morgan decision was at least a partial response to these campaigns (Dogwood, LEADNOW, etc.), and supposed pressure from these groups as representatives of the environmental movement as a whole. The goal of these campaigns was to largely to get the NDP to make promises they could be held to account for later. We would have to ask the NDP campaign managers why they made the kinder morgan decision – but what other barometer for environmental opinion would they use other than the campaigns of these groups which advocated for the exact change to the platform they made? Shouldn’t they have factored this potential outcome into the decision to go ahead with these campaigns?

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 15:36 posted by Lars

    What a wimp that Dix is – say it like it is or get off the damn platform. Jesus, what a waste of my time!!!

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 13:49 posted by Sean in Vancouver

    If Heyman does win the leadership, the BC Liberals are guaranteed a landslide reelection in 2017.

    Who wants a tired former BCGEU radical leader as party leader, let alone Premier.

    The NDP has to dump its socialism….That party is a dead letter, and this campaign proved it.

    Dix’s arrogance and contempt for parliamentary democracy killed the election for him.

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 13:27 posted by Colin Bailey

    Sadly, Dix occupied a nerdy middle ground between Bob Skelly and Mike Harcourt and helmed a very cerebral campaign that made it hard for voters to connect his “Change for the Better” message with anything that might matter to them personally.

    Having said that, have you noticed that the percentage of popular vote for the NDP in this election is no different than it was for Glen Clark’s lopsided 1996 victory? Liberals fared somewhat better than in ’96 for the popular vote, but given the voter turnout, I don’t think this is statistically significant.

    I think the election was largely decided by those core voters that you mention. Swing voters largely stayed at home except for in ridings such as Vancouver-Point Grey and Oak Bay-Gordon Head. All the parties failed to generate that excitement elsewhere. The NDP should have played it as though they were barely ahead in the polls and knew things were going to get dirty from the get-go.

    I realize that twice is a coincidence and not yet a trend, but I think future election strategists should be looking long and hard at the latest Alberta and BC elections and planning accordingly.

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:38 posted by Kim

    You said it Rafe!

    Ever since Dix won that leadership convention away from John Horgan, I’ve had the sinking feeling that he was a plant, put there to lose this election.

    Same thing with Mulcair. Has the left wing been co-opted altogether?

    Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:13 posted by ron wilton

    We certainly cannot expect governments or politicians to protect us from the lust and greed of corporate controlled governments and politicions.

    Neither the police nor the courts.

    United we stand, divided we fall, and we owe to our selves, our forbears, our descendants, our province and our country to not let them get away with this bullshit anymore.
    I for one, will stand and use whatever resources and devices I may have at my disposal to fight these filthy, rotten, corrupt bastards at every turn.

    This will truly be the summer of our discontent.

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