Few are surprised with Adrian Dix's decision to give up the B.C. New Democrat leadership.
Dix announced Wednesday he will resign as leader of the provincial NDP, clearing the way to find a new leader and ending speculation about how long he will stay on after the NDP's surprise May 14 provincial election upset.
Officials from both the Liberals and the NDP were stunned when a solid NDP victory predicted by public opinion poll results ended with the NDP remaining as the official Opposition.
The Liberals actually gained seats in that election, and some blamed Dix's leadership, including his failure to answer a negative campaign by the Liberals, and too strong a stance against oil pipelines.
In spite of that, Nanaimo New Democrats are taking pains to express their respect and support for Dix, describing him as a dedicated and loyal party member, if not a leader.
"We believe it's the best thing for the party - Adrian has always put the party and his principles ahead of himself," said New Democrat Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog.
"I support his decision," said Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan NDP MLA. "I also (acknowledge) it has been a very difficult decision for him. I have a lot of empathy."
Asked what role Dix's leadership may have played in the spring election upset, Routley said "the polls were inaccurate," but said the party also "didn't have a focused message" in the campaign.
Krog blamed "negative advertising" from the Liberals but said it's likely Dix's opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline had some impact on the poll results. Despite this, both MLAs showed respect for the outgoing leader.
"I think his talent is obvious every time he stands up and speaks," Routley said.
"We've always been really proud of him as a group, and today is no different. We know he is doing this so we can be forward moving, rather than focusing on the rear-view mirror."
Krog said Dix's dedication spans 25 years, back to his roots working for the federal NDP caucus in Ottawa, and "he will run again, no doubt. "Dix will remain in the leadership roll until a new leader can be found.
The date for a leadership race is expected to be decided at the next caucus conference, in November.
DBellaart @nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4235
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