Right move to step down?
Sep 19, 2013 / 5:00 pm
BC Opposition Leader Adrian Dix will quit as the leader of the New Democrats as soon as the party can hold a leadership vote.
Dix says he must take the blame for the party's devastating election loss in May, a vote the NDP was widely expected to win.
"I've tried to put the long-term future ahead of any personal ambition," Dix said during a news conference in which he appeared both jovial and emotional.
"That we fell short on election day is my responsibility as leader."
Dix says he will stay on until a leadership vote, which he wants to be held no later than the middle of next year. He also said he would retain his seat and would run again as MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway.
Speculation about what Dix would do has been swirling for months and he left the legislature in July saying he would take time to reflect on his political future.
Since then, Dix was rarely in the public eye and his supporters were quiet.
However, detractors had been publicly calling for him to indicate his exit plan to allow the party to get on with the rebuilding process.
Christy Clark's Liberals staged an epic come-from-behind win on May 14 when they erased a 20-point NDP lead in the polls and gave the Liberals a fourth consecutive mandate.
Afterwards, when the shock of the outcome had worn off, New Democrats began to publicly question the party's strategy during the campaign.
In particular, Dix's decision mid-campaign to oppose the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline — a move Dix admittedly said was made with little consultation within the party — was heavily criticized as a job-killer by some in the labour wing of the party.
As well, Dix was strafed privately by party insiders frustrated with his staunch refusal until very late in the campaign to respond in kind to the Liberals' relentless attack ads. Dix, supported by former members of federal NDP Leader Jack Layton's campaign team, had been steadfast in his effort to run what he called a "positive" campaign.
Dix was widely credited for pulling the party together after a divisive public fight over Carole James' leadership, which prompted her to step aside.
When asked if the party is now at risk of coming apart again, Dix said firmly the NDP's new caucus is united and strong.
"Our new members are just outstanding. I just came from a meeting of our caucus and I think we are resolute and determined to keep the government to account for their cynical campaign."
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