A bold new post from Ian Reid on the BC NDP.

I greatly admire Ian for many reasons, and this new post is one of his best. Here is an excerpt:



This weekend the BC NDP Provincial Council meets to begin the review of the disastrous 2013 campaign.

From what I see it is set to fail, much like Dix’s campaign itself.

This was a campaign that Adrian Dix and the BC NDP were supposed to win going away.  Instead they lost badly.

Dix didn’t lose because Clark’s Liberals were good (they were) but because his campaign was so bad.

Under his leadership the BC NDP were ill prepared, incompetent in the air and on the ground, deliberately under informed, unable to respond and technologically in the dark ages.

Money wasn’t the problem it has always been.  Dix and his team spent more money getting fewer votes than any NDP campaign in history.  They spent more than 3 times what the 2009 campaign spent to get a significantly smaller portion of the vote.

The campaign was an enormous waste of money.  Think about that the next time you get one of those relentless phone calls or e-mails.

The problem according to MLAs and members of the campaign team was Dix – his foolishly amateur ‘positive’ strategy, his performance, his astonishing micro-management coupled with his inability to work with a team, including his caucus and his candidates.

There are, I’m told, at least two reports on the campaign written by senior insiders, one of which was prepared for a debrief held last week.   One report is said to be a damning review of the Leader’s lack of campaign skills.  (Will council get to see those reports before it decides how to review the campaign?  What do you think?)

Yet Dix refuses to take responsibility, offering no indication that he intends to leave.  It appears that he has decided to stick around to stay in charge of the official campaign review.

In other words, the problem has decided to oversee the solution.  If that doesn’t undermine the party’s credibility it’s only because it has nowhere further to fall.


With Dix in charge it begs the question:  why bother holding a review? It all seems set up to defuse blame and save Dix’s leadership.  Why trust it will get at the real problem and convince Dix to go?

Here’s what people close to the campaign have to say about it...”

Now, think about that for a moment… and go read the rest.

Brava Ian. Brava. http://therealstory.ca/2013-06-20/bc-politics/change-for-the-better-one-big-step-now

31 thoughts on “A bold new post from Ian Reid on the BC NDP.

  1. I’ve pinned this article to my browser tab, because I will be very interested in reading the comments that will be posted.

    This interim bit doesn’t represent my whole thinking, which I don’t think I would post here anyways. But the comment about winning the by-election caught my eye.

    Unless the NDP decide to replace Dix this wknd and station the new leader here in Westside Kelowna immediately, they will never win the by-election (though they could).

    The Dix campaign started tanking here first, with the fiasco in Kelowna Mission on Day One of the last election campaign. The NDP had a great campaign office location on the most visible, highly trafficked corner in Kelowna at Harvey and Dilworth, yet all that the NDP could display was prominent incompetence at taping up campaign posters in the windows. Carole Gordon is not the best candidate for a suburban riding, whose families and children have been terrorized by BCTF strike tactics for years.

    (Disclosure: as a mother: there is no way I support adults using a captive population of children as the means to further its ends … similarly with health unions whose nurses will likely never strike again because the public hates them for it as polls have showed. As for teachers, when parents take their kids to school all they see a lot of big, bright shiny new cars in the teachers’ parking lots, bought by teachers who have double and more income than the parents of their students have. The parents are driving marginal vehicles and can barely feed and clothe their kids, keep the lights and heat on, as can be plainly seen when you drive around the suburbs of the riding. There is no way a rich doctor’s wife, such as the one who heads the BCTF, has anything credible to say to the electorate of Westside Kelowna).

    Dix has no appeal to Okanagans. He is too cerebral, and life and business in the Okanagan is a tough nasty business because there is no money here … the locals are employed in the service/servicing industry and that means that the money isn’t being made by Okanagans and isn’t staying in the Okanagan.

    Accordingly, in order to survive, the locals are an insular tough nasty petty breed who would stab you in the back as soon as spit in your eye. They only get ahead by climbing over your back. They also tend to be descended from some very insular ancestry. There’s a lot of them who will claim to be Old Okanagan, until it is pointed out that the population is too small to soundly support such a claim … MLA Eric Foster in Vernon is one such example. (I have been often told that me and my family will never be considered to be from the Okanagan because my grandparents did not settle here ) Okanagans are a basic, absolute, resentful bunch, without much compassion or patience for the middle ground, and what the NDP is offering has no practical use to them, thus no appeal.

    I’ve yet to hear Carole Gordon has yet to come up with a single appealing issue, and I can reel off five big local issues where the Liberals are vulnerable right away, and could have no answers. I have a HUGE issue that could probably destroy Christy Clark. Why doesn’t Carole Gordon have anything in the bag? Obviously she isn’t getting any support from the NDP bureaucracy, and the NDP either doesn’t have a clue about the Okanagan or they don’t want to play politics, they want to play nice and be pure and virtuous instead. That doesn’t cut it in the dirty world of the native Okanagan.

    I think the NDP could win here because Clark and the Liberal party are still very vulnerable … no one around here is happy with them, they just didn’t vote or held their noses. But the NDP MUST start this weekend, and be immediately very smart about things, and take advantage of that natural resentment (ooops, did I just give the NDP some direction?)


    1. No more than I have in the last few years..lol..

      Excellent heartfelt post. Can’t comment on some of it, not being from there, but in line with a lot of what I have heard.

      And the comments under Ian’s original post at his place, are unbeatable.


      1. Well, here’s something you may not have heard: I have lived off and on in the Okanagan since 1960, and never have I heard such drivel as I’ve read from Karen on this thread.
        Perhaps the reason she hasn’t been accepted in the Okanagan is because she is ‘insular, tough, nasty, and petty’ herself. If we in the Okanagan are ‘a basic, absolute, resentful bunch’, it is possibly because there are people like Karen amongst us.


        1. I think gini, from what I am hearing, is that this area is quite divided.I have a lot of readers in the area and I find all of you to be wonderful people! But I have heard the same thing Karen says from others who’ve lived and live there now, and I have heard the same thing you’ve said as well. Perspective is everything.


        2. Perspective is everything and yes, the area is absolutely prone to clique type behaviour and business is brutal from many fronts mostly on low wages and poor conditions. Major employers have left the area and loud crickets from the free enterprise coalition as it’s “just business” but what about these jobs that are supposed to be created out of thin air.


    2. Accordingly, in order to survive, the locals are an insular tough nasty petty breed who would stab you in the back as soon as spit in your eye. They only get ahead by climbing over your back

      That’s well said Karen, even though I’ve settled into a comfortable life being here for 16 years, it is with a much, much smaller social circle that is really not that nice when you step out and take a risk of joining new ones. Business is fiercely competitive and large employers leave without a wimper from the “free enterprisers”. Carole is a decent candidate but needs some image coaching and a strong campaign, otherwise its just a bunch of ugly orange signs along the equally ugly, but larger, Christy Clark signs. I gotta say it’s creepy seeing the Clark signs everywhere.


    3. “Accordingly, in order to survive, the locals are an insular tough nasty petty breed who would stab you in the back as soon as spit in your eye. ”

      Well Karen, based on your teacher and nurse bashing comments I would say your assessment of the locals is spot on.


    4. I’m an okanagan orchardist and i work very long hard dirty hours and have all my life. My wifes a teacher and she works harder than me and is twice as tired at the end of the day; I know all her fellow staff members and they all work as hard and are as caring as her.
      I’m pretty sure Fassbender/Christy will force them out on strike come September with their 10 year contract gimick.
      Don’t bash teachers.


  2. Not much more can be said, Ian nails it to the wall. If ever there was an election to win, it was this one, he should’ve stepped down at about 9:20 on election night.


  3. The term that best describes the NDP is that are latter day Luddites. The incompetence by Dix and his election team is just breathe taking and this fool doesn’t even have smarts to step down; my gawd how out of touch is he?

    Dix must step down and now, or the NDP will dissolve into the “Silly Party”, full of yesterday’s socialists who have hibernated for the past 20 years.

    If I was a card carrying NDP member I would give Dix and that other loser, Carole James, 24 hours to step down or resign from the party. Only a fool today would vote NDP and the unelected Cristy Clark will be a shoe-in in the July bye-election, being a “2”, when the NDP only ran a “0”.


    1. The BC NDP was built on a “grass roots” movement. “That” has been missing in action for a very long time. It’s very broken and a shot of WD40 just isn’t going to do it. The resurrection of this entity will depend on a ruthless purge from the top down. It will be interesting to see what sort of movement comes out of the Provincial Council meeting this weekend.


  4. Laila; an acquaintance of mine ran for the NDP in the last election, while I proud of his name forward, I have to admit I was surprised that he lost in a riding that while always centre-right has consistently been close enough to grasp under the right conditions. I suspect from our discussions afterwards that he will likely never make that mistake again. As I understand it, they prevented him from attending the only all candidates meeting we had in the area for a couple of the local races as well as kept him from speaking out on a specific issue that was close to his heart at another meeting.
    You know, in days gone by while I never supported the NDP back in the day,as much as I truly did not like Bob Williams or Alex MacDonald or Dave Barrett I did admire that when they spoke it was with passion and conviction, there was no mistake about where they stood and what they stood for. The same could be said for that wily, shoot himself in the foot at every opportunity, Bill Van der Zalm, or even Flying Phil (I don’t care what they say about me, just sort of spell my name correctly) Gagliardi.
    The Electorate have a right to know what their MLA or potential MLA truly believes. These folks need to be able to speak freely with all the passion, conviction and vision they can muster without the respective campaign directorates having a hissy fit if they think the candidate will go off message. That’s what elections are all about giving the electorate in each constituency a sense that the person they are sending to Victoria is truly representing them first and their party second. The Party, Liberal (really Conservative) or NDP are only banners under which essentially independent candidates align themselves. Candidates need to take themselves out from under that protective umbrella of security and yes at times openly challenge whatever policy they disagree with within their Party.
    What Dix and that import campaign manager, Brian Topp did was to try a filter the message and maybe it would work in TO but not here. If you are going to run a campaign here you better have someone who knows this political landscape, what may work elsewhere won’t work here.
    We have voted for the NDP since 2001 and we will not vote for the Liberals (Conservatives) and now unless something really drastic happens we are in a quandry about the future. We are progressive voters that lean to the centre and quite frankly there is no political party in this province at the moment that is speaking to the real issues confronting middle class families, small businesses or seniors in any real demonstrable way, it’s all about either big business and their allies or big labour and their allies, nothing inbetween in the real world where most of us live and work.
    How can you inspire the electorate by not speaking with A Real Passion, Conviction and a Clear Vision?


  5. Wow, what a fantastic comment Stan. And I agree wholeheartedly. The answer is that you can’t . It doesn’t matter who the leader of the NDP is, as long as they keep doing what they have been doing in past elections, they will never win. They will never win when they control their candidates with an iron fist. They will never win, period.

    I have had a heated discussion and debate with a long time NDP member,worker and volunteer on facebook. She basically came out and said that she thinks I sit at my computer and toss shit at the NDP blah blah blah. My comment to her was that my record for what I have investigated, written and revealed here stands for itself. It’s all here on these pages. And on most of those stories, the NDP have remained silent, even when the information has been sent to them, or when the press has picked up on it and carried it. She said it was a process. I said how long do the people of BC have to wait after this long for the NDP to get it right?

    Seriously, how long do the people of BC have to wait? At what point do you say this isn’t working and move on to find or create something that does ?

    There are a lot of issues and cans of worms that the NDP are sitting on right now. Things they have totally dropped the ball on. For example, during the election a video was made that showed a clip from Hansard with John Horgan talking about the secret deals the Liberals signed with oil and gas companies. He said something to the effect of ” We’ll see if the press gallery was paying attention today if we see this in the news.”

    Well, that was news to me. And I didn’t find any stories about it. Secret deals ? Now, you tell me. If you knew this information, why the heck wouldn’t you go to the press if they didn’t catch it, and tell them? Why not email any of the NDP ish bloggers? Why do nothing with that?

    There are a lot of questions and no answers, because as soon as you start talking about it, everyone shuts up and a clamp down occurs.

    There are many amazing people in the NDP, both MLA’s, members and workers/volunteers. I hope they are all taking a good hard look at what or how they all contributed to this situation. Its not just a top down purge that needs to happen, but a change in the toxic culture that doesn’t allow members or candidates or MLAs to speak freely.

    Anything less will be death for the party. If Dix doesn’t leave this weekend, its all over.


  6. great post and comments Laila. Yep the culture of the BC NDP needs to change and re-connect to the grassroots members, supporters and progressive citizens like us. Although I don’t see any signs of that happening. The longer Dix and company stay, the more alienated the base becomes. It will be really interesting to see what the NDP vote is in the Kelowna-Westside by-election and what amount is donated from individuals.


  7. “And on most … stories, the NDP have remained silent, even when the information has been sent to them, or when the press has picked up on it and carried it. SHE SAID IT WAS A PROCESS.”

    That is the problem and I do not think the NDP can get beyond the process of centralized decision making. I suspect it is a part of their political DNA now and likely with the exception of some of their more dynamic people in the past, this collectivization (if that’s a word) of the decision making process harkens back to the cold war era and firmly links them to that era. For good or for ill, the world has changed but the NDP really hasn’t and that is the problem.

    There are really only two issues in any election, be it Federal, Provincial or Municipal, ‘BREAD AND BUTTER”. How much Bread and Butter are you going to take off my table or put onto my table. How are you going to make my life easier with the money I give you on a monthly basis and at the end of the day, how much is going to left in my pocket to take care of myself and my family.

    Ideological New Democrats generally set their hair on file when I comment on WAC, but you know when you look at his time in office especially the early years, he was not beholden to either big business nor to big labour, both sides hated him because he spurned both of them. Even though he used the “free enterprise” schtick to win elections during that period, his period was always in reponse to those two primary issues.

    WAC had a vision for the future that brought together small business, middle class families, rank and file unionists (like my parents) to attain the goal of relative prosperity.

    When you look at the power projects of the time, the environmentalists went ballistic, but the net overall benefit was astounding for the period. The unions, as much as they openly disliked it, in private were ecstatic, what could be better, good wages and benefits for the term of the project.

    BC Ferries were brought under control of the province for a solid reason. They brought people, tax dollars and prosperity to Vancouver Island. Yes, there were subsidies but those were greatly offset by increased tax revenues from other sources. The difference today is that the Conservative government in Victoria has suspended the Law of Supply and Demand as it relates to this service they are doing the opposite, they are reducing supply to meet current levels of demand in an effort to create a false profit. In business you know when you have a surplus of capacity and a low demand you have to adjust your pricing strategy accordingly to bring the two into relative balance. In the case of BC Ferries, you also have to factor in tax revenues from all sources that have been lost due to the high cost of this egregious user pay system that denies middle class families access to this service.

    What I am getting at is that WAC had a vision of the future that he was able to cross all political boundaries with. The voters believed in him and his vision. He knew he would never be popular with the Business or Labour power groups but he would be popular with the voters so long as he was able to take care of their immediate concerns and issues within their ability to pay.

    My sense is that the NDP will not be able to do that, I suspect that if a party or leader arises that addresses the real concerns of every voters then it is likely the “User Pay regardless of Ability to Pay” Conservative(BC Liberal) philosophy and “collectivist decision making” NDP philisophy will be pushed completely aside.

    The NDP needs a reality check on today and I just do not know if they are up for that challenge.


  8. I grudgingly agree with most of what you said about WAC because I only know what I’ve read in some history books. I do know, though, that his son Bill, along with ‘Amazing Grace’ and others, destroyed the Social Credit party, which became the BC Liberal party after Campbell stole it from Wilson (at least that’s what I believe happened)

    I became interested in B.C. politics when Dave Barrett became Premier, and I honestly believe that we would be a lot better off if we had someone with his ‘passion and conviction’ (your words) at this time. There is no way that Christy would have gotten away with those atrocious lies she told in her campaign if someone like Dave Barrett had been campaigning against her. He would have won in a landslide, IMHO.

    I saw first hand how the NDP now manipulates its candidates for MLA when I attended an all-candidates debate in my riding. One of the questions from the audience was, “If you were elected, and an extremely important issue came up for a vote, would you vote according to your constituents’ wishes, according to your conscience, or along party lines?” Our NDP candidate was the only one who couldn’t come up with a definite response. All the others immediately said, “I would vote according to my constituents’ wishes.”

    Now, I don’t know if the others were telling the truth or whether they were just saying what the audience wanted to hear, but I think our NDP candidate lost some votes when he hinted that he’d probably vote along party lines. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I interpreted his answer.


  9. Dear Gini;
    Bill Bennett and Grace McCarthy did not destroy the Social Credit Party, the credit for that falls at the feet of Bill Van der Zalm on the one hand and a cadre of federally aligned liberals and conservatives on the other hand. On the latter score neither of those groups had any interest in retaining the neither the Social Credit name nor likedthe independence from their control that it represented.
    The war for the heart and soul of the party started at the Whistler leadership convention where money flowed in private rooms and promises were made and broken all in a single day. Truly the only person who could have saved the party at that point was Grace McCarthy who was denied the opportunity by Mel Couvelier. I wasn’t active in the party at that time but certainly I heard all of the stories. My involvement was later, much later.
    You see when Van der Zalm took the reins of the party, while Bill B had only slightly shifted the Party off of the centre post but still close enough to the centre to retain and grow the membership, Van der Zalm had moved it pretty far to the right, so far that moderates such as Grace McCarthy were not comfortable. Van der Zalm installed just about every wing nut you can imagine into the party HQ. This was the beginning of the end.

    But the real end of the party happened just prior to the 1991 election as I understand the scenario when the constituency associations were given advice on how to bury their money. Some of the associations were honest when they closed down after 1991 but there was still a lot of money out there that was never tracked. Oh, it was heard about that this group or that group had substantial funds and as a Board Member I attended meetings where it was alluded to but we could never find it. Once the money dried up, that was pretty much it, game, set and match.

    In the early to mid nineties, when I was involved, there was a small group of us unknown to each other, trying to retain the small L liberal and and small C conservative brand in the Party focusing on “the legacies” of WAC. The unofficial head of the group was Anita Tozer, the daughter of WAC, who was one of the most progressive women that I had ever met in politics and someone I was proud to have called my friend. I’ve always felt that Anita was looking for someone to take over the party who had the kind of forward vision that her father had, someone who cared more about serving the peoples’ interests than those of special interest groups.

    Some of the meetings that I attended were truly interesting, you had the wing nut faction which was pretty much the churchie, pro life types; the provincial liberal 5th column types; the ” I wanna be elected to anything” types; and the legacy group. I have to say that at least one of those meetings was one of the most disturbing that I had ever attended during my time of involvement.

    Let me be clear in my opinion, the B.C.Liberal Party is not now nor has it ever been Social Credit reborn, it was solely and is exclusively the result of the Federal Liberals and the Federal Conservatives dispatching something they always had a problem with and something they could not control. In my view the only reason it got the Liberal brand was because the Federal Liberals were the stronger of the two federal parties at that time. Had this happened just a few years earlier and had Gordon Wilson subsequently not had “one” good night on TV it would have been the B.C. Conservative Party instead.
    Seems to me these days, that it backfired on the Federal Liberals as we have a pretty solidly conservative government in Victoria with not a lot of real liberals in their ranks.

    Gini, “Passion and Conviction” can get some elected but to govern there needs to be a Vision that everyone can buy into. That Vision has to be all encompassing and expressed with Passion and Conviction. You can’t borrow that Vision, it has to be your own.


  10. Gini, I do not know whether Barrett had vision or not, but certainly he had a mission for his views on social justice and inequality. Barrett could certainly inspire the true believers. I certainly still remember his speeches, they weren’t earth shattering in scope but they were delivered with passion, jacket off, shirt sleeves rolled up. I could never really relate to the Dave Barrett I saw in public to the Dave Barrett that lived a couple of blocks away.


    1. Stan, do you always leave with a provocative statement like that? (“I could never really relate to the Dave Barrett I saw in public to the Dave Barrett that lived a couple of blocks away.”) It begs the question, “What did you see in his public persona (which is all most of us saw) that wasn’t there in his private persona?” (I’m assuming you knew him personally).


      1. All I can really say, is that as is often the case, the public persona is not the same as the private persona. Did not really know them personally, other than being the paper boy in the mid sixties. They tended to very private and not overly involved with the neighbourhood or the community which again is not all that unusual for someone in his position at the time. It was respected and in my view should remain so.


  11. well – he’s not going. “Dix remained determined that he will stay at the helm unless members decide otherwise this fall.”
    read it here:
    “Dix received a standing ovation at the end of his speech… Dix said his focus will NOT be on an effective Opposition to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her Liberal government.” (my emphasis added).

    Huh – NOT focus on being an effective opposition…??? Did I get that right? Did I misunderstand the above phraseology?

    What the heck are they going to focus on??? Those lost forestry jobs? Give me a break – stop with the “forestry jobs” idea – there is barely enough forest left in BC to hold the soil on the mountains.

    “When you lose 40,000 forestry jobs in 10 years under the Liberals, it actually helps the Liberals win elections because those people who have been the bulwark of NDP support, particularly in the Interior, are not there,’’ Dix told delegates.

    That is so much BS. (I’ll send you my pre-election email exchange with Mr Dix and you can figure out what he means ok?) I am absolutely finished with the BCNDP.

    I think I will be making my exit to the Green party and there I will help to build a party that cares about the planet – people and community. We won’t need unions IF people and the planet are both respected. We won’t need to resent teachers if they buy a new car when everyone can make a decent living. And – if everyone had a decent living – we could close down the food banks and build affordable housing. The only way to get decency is to take back our government from the corporate interests that exploit our natural resources and our human resources and confiscate our wealth. I’m not in favor of making money from offshore development.

    We need a planet, a province, a home, education and community. We need green jobs – tech jobs and infrastructure jobs. We need food security and we need to take down those who continue to promote the idea that we can’t support public services including hospitals and teachers as well as have a creative and competitive work force at the same time.

    That’s my rant. Thanks for the post Laila and the great conversation in the comments.


    1. Thanks Priscilla, actually, the article state his focus will be on an effective opposition…. Not the way you have written it. 🙂


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