A BC Liberal prays that the NDP choose Adrian Dix as leader
Just prior to the BC NDP deadline for leadership candidates, Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix took the stage within a public school to announce he was adding his name to the list of candidates who want to lead that party. What followed immediately was a loud crack around the province as BC Liberals from Fort St. John to Fort Langley high-fived in unison.
The venue was an interesting one – it was the first time in memory that a public building was used as the stage for a political announcement. The school was Sir Guy Carleton, which sadly has become a political prop for Dix. Last spring VSB Superintendent Steve Cardwell, who was recently hired by the Vision/COPE majority school board, created a shortlist of 11 schools slated for possible closure. An astounding three of those schools were in Dix's riding.
Then a reduced list was presented, and a $100,000+ dog and pony show "consultation" proceeded across the city's east side. Sir Guy Carleton was the only school left on the closures list in Dix's riding, but he aggressively organized a 'save our school' campaign around himself, Councillor Kerry Jang, and NDP MP Don Davies. The decision to leave Carleton on that list was made by the Superintendent's office. Carleton met none of the criteria laid out by the Board for school closures, which raises many questions as to why it even was left on the list.
I think the reason is simple. It was meant to help Adrian Dix' political aspirations.
The meeting on Monday night had a few notable faces. Annie Wong, Carleton's PAC chair who works for Dix, gave opening remarks that a source suggests were either written by Dix' staff or even Adrian himself. Vision Vancouver's Kerry Jang attended the meeting, as did his colleague Raymond Louie. Raymond was the smarter of the two, deciding to avoid standing behind the podium with the leader. Jang on the other hand placed his mug squarely in the view of cameras, standing right behind Dix and reacting to every syllable of Adrian's speech.
Controversy and Adrian Dix seem to go hand-in-hand, which is why he makes such an appealing opponent to whomever of today's list of BC Liberal leadership contenders becomes the Premier. Dix is part of a group of political allies dubbed by Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith as the Kingsway NDP Mafia. Members of this illustrious club include:
- Coun. Geoff Meggs (seen here in a photo with Dix)
- Coun. Kerry Jang
- MP Don Davies
- Academic and political pundit Doug McArthur
A fight broke out among NDP leadership candidates as it appears that Dix' campaign stuffed in up to 5,000 last minute bulk memberships signed up in the Indo-Canadian and Filipino communities. Public Eye Online broke the story, and even showed the room within the NDP head office taped off while a dispute over the memberships was ruled upon.
It appears that a new charter member of the Kingsway NDP mafia includes Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore. Elmore was dutifully stapling $10 bills to NDP membership forms after the deadline. CTV's report has exclusive cell phone video (see image, right) showing Elmore doing the deed – amazing work!
NDP MLA Harry Lali, considered one of the wilder figures in the party and also a leadership candidate, as well as leadership candidate Mike Farnworth both raised objections to the NDP brass. Geoff Meggs' wife Jan O'Brien as provincial secretary ruled that Dix' bulk memberships and the funny business around the duffle bag of cash and a stapler was all fine.
Lali, who is south Asian, said that the NDP had to quit doing bulk membership sign-ups – saying "this crap has got to stop." What's astounding is the NDP have managed to make MLA Harry Lali look like the most sane person in the party!
Of course, this is just the latest bit of unseemly politicking attached to Adrian Dix. The Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee dug a copy of a memo signed by Dix when he worked in former Premier Glen Clark's office. That's the notorious memo he forged to protect his boss from allegations of corruption. Sun scribe Vaughn Palmer reminds us of the whole sordid affair in a recent column.
The whole mess around NDP memberships could have been avoided if the party were to do what the BC Liberals are, by taking a 'modernized' voting system for approval by their membership next month. They are setting up a 'weighted ballot' and creating a riding point system that eschews one member-one vote policies that are easily exploited in the way the Dix campaign apparently has.
Even more irksome is the fact that membership sign-ups for the NDP are closed months before their leadership vote. It appears that the old guard doesn't want to lose control. By comparison, the BC Liberals are still accepting new members until February 5th for their leadership vote on the 26th.
Dix' entry into the BC NDP leadership race might be cold comfort to rank and file members who thought the party would set a higher standard for openness and integrity. But let's face it, this is about winning and Team Dix know that.
If Adrian Dix becomes the next leader of the BC NDP it will answer the prayers of many supporters of BC Liberals who think they'll need all the help they can get to form government again. With those 5,000 bulk membership sign-ups now in place, it looks like Dix' victory might be a done deal.
Two quick notes to readers: Check out Thursday's 24 Hours "CityCaucus.com" column on page four. A recent FOI response was the basis of my analysis of last June's special meeting of city council on oil shipments through the Port of Vancouver. I'll post the column here in a couple of days.
Secondly, please excuse the lack of posts lately. We've been variously struck by the flu or other work commitments which have cut into our time to blog. We'll be stepping up our game in the days ahead, so we thank you for your patience!
- post by Mike