BC NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix was in Penticton Thursday conducting one-on-one interviews with local media, soliciting party support for his bid and talking with residents in a riding the deputy house leader and health critic believes the NDP can win in the next election.
Dix said after 10 years of BC Liberal governments the province is in desperate need of change, asserting policies he is presenting in his leadership campaign — especially in regards to health care, agriculture and the economy — would benefit the South Okanagan.
Dix described the Liberal’s economic record as the worst in his lifetime.
“(They have governed over) lower levels of growth than there were under the NDP, contrary to what they always say, and this region has taken some of the brunt of that,” he said. “Over 10 years, the average economic growth under the BC Liberals has been two per cent. It was three per cent under the NDP. It was 2.8 per cent under the Social Credit from 1975 to 1991 and so on. This government has the worst record on economic growth since the Great Depression. And on top of that B.C. has become a more unequal place.
“We want to use the public investments that we have to improve life here and improve the economy here.”
Dix also said he felt the province had not been well served by the BC Liberal’s stewardship of seniors care, access to acute care beds and to care in smaller communities.
“We have tended to push everyone to the most expensive options, so if you are in a small town such as Princeton, (you are being) pushed to Penticton Regional Hospital, a facility that is generally full all the time,” he said.
“I know someone at the hospital right now who is very seriously ill and is in a hallway … The staff are working very hard, but it is not good enough for a level of hospital care and it is not the most efficient way to run a health care system.”
Dix said there are many efficiencies in the health care system that could be taken advantage of to save money. For example, he would like to implement a program whereby hospitals located in agricultural areas, such as PRH, feed patients local food.
“This is one of the great agricultural areas of British Columbia and they don’t use the local food,” he said. “We have high-quality food here, and when people are sick they should get high-quality food and that should be the case in the Okanagan more than anywhere else.”
Dix said he has the skills needed to lead his party into the next election and the province throughout the next decade.
“I had great success getting results as an opposition MLA, and I think in the Premier’s Office I would be able to get the results that people want in British Columbia,” he said.
Dix will compete against Mike Farnworth, John Horgan, Nicholas Simons and Dana Larson April 17 in a multi-staged one-member, one-vote election process where each BC NDP member (as long as they have been in the party for at least 90 days) will have an opportunity to vote via telephone, internet or advance voting.
For a full transcript of the 45-minute interview with Dix, visit www.pentictonwesternnews.com on Monday.