Next 12 months critical for New Democratic Party

The once powerful NDP party in British Columbia is in tatters, but not torn, says columnist Ken Wilson.

The once powerful NDP party in British Columbia is in tatters, but not torn. Since the last provincial election in May, many have been calling for the head of Adrian Dix to be put on the party’s guillotine.

Now that Dix and his buddy Moe Sihota have said they will step down, the party will be scrambling to find a new leader and this can be divisive.

The party will also be re-inventing itself so by the time the next election rolls around, the NDP will be ready to take on Christy Clark and her Liberal gang.

Dix blew a 20-point lead going into the last election and I think Carole James would have done a better job for the NDP but still would not have beat the Liberals.

Dix ran a positive campaign and that along with his Kinder Morgan fiasco and other goofy things, lost the election.

It really is too bad that negative advertising during an election campaign does work — they have been doing it with success south of the border for years.

I think people would want to know what the parties can do, instead of how bad they are.

The Libs kept suggesting throughout the election that the NDP would be poor managers of the economy, and this resonated strongly with the citizens of our province, who knew we were in a vulnerable fiscal position.

So who will step up from the NDP ranks to take over the leadership of the bedraggled New Democratic Party?

Mike Farnworth, a veteran politician who came second in the leadership race that saw Dix win the top job, is someone who will be hustling his NDP ‘buns’ to find out if he has the support to win the race.

John Horgan, also has support with party members, and might run, as may Gregor Robertson, Vancouver’s left wing mayor.

Whoever succeeds Dix and Sihota will have their work cut out for them. The NDP will be looking at walking down a different path, perhaps one more towards the middle of the political spectrum.

Other NDP jurisdictions in this country have had success with the shift away from the very left and there may be other changes, like how they deal with the strong and entrenched union wing of the party.

As union strength diminishes across the country, maybe their influence in the hierarchy of this NDP party may also be weakening.

Whatever happens with the New Democratic Party in the next election, will probably come down to what occurs within the party in the next 12 to 15 months.

Who says there is no fun in B.C. politics, whether it be provincial or local?

Ken Wilson is a columnist for the Weekend Advisor.