Adrian Dix may not be angry, but he is driven by a passion for politics rooted in the ideal that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and as equals.
The BC NDP and Opposition leader was in the Shuswap on Saturday to speak at a potluck dinner/fundraiser in Salmon Arm in support of the local party effort and candidate Steve Gunner. Before the event, however, the Observer had an opportunity to sit down with Dix and chat over coffee about politics, his upbringing, his Internet habits and his love for a cantankerous cat.
Q: Are you really angry, as in the Angry man of B.C.?
A: This is a fantastic job… At a personal level, it’s wonderful, but I’m ambitious for the province. I want to see us improve and make changes and address the growing issue of inequality between regions, between communities, between people, between neighbourhoods… I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.
Q: Did you, or would you consider growing a Glen Clark-style moustache for Movember?
A: The answer is yes, I would consider growing a moustache, but I don’t think it would be that style. I think it would be alternatively blonder and greyer.
Q: Who are your parents and do they vote NDP?
A: Dad (Ken) retired a couple of days after Thanksgiving, as did my mom (Hilda). Dad had a small business in Vancouver. He’s 81, my mom’s 77.
I have nothing but really good memories… we had around our dinner table lots of interesting discussions about public affairs and politics. My dad is from Ireland. My parents weren’t, in any sense wealthy, but they were very good to us, very generous to us. Dad voted for Dave (Barrett), mom was a federal liberal for some of that time, but they’ve been voting NDP.
Q: Do you Google yourself?
A: I don’t Google myself so much as I Google BC politics to find out what’s going on because… I have to be able to respond as the leader of the opposition or as the MLA. But I do Google myself, I admit it. I’ve even inhaled (laughs) I’m kidding. It seems on the surface that it is kind of an act of self absorption.
Q: Do you own any pets?
A: Ari the cat… He’s 19-years old. It’s an old cat, extremely ornery. None of our friends will cat sit for us. Ari has few friends, but we love him quite a bit.
Q: Do you have a smart meter? Should British Columbians?
A: No, we’re in a rental apartment… there’s probably a version we’ll get. It’s a waste of money in my view. A billion dollars to tell us how much energy we’re using. Doesn’t it make more sense to spend a billion dollars actually saving energy, retrofitting buildings for example?
Q: Should Premier Christy Clark consider wearing turtlenecks in legislature?
A: Politics is hard enough. I don’t disrespect the people I run against. I don’t disrespect Christy Clark and George Abbott. There are important things going on in the province, I don’t think we should cheapen them.
Q: Why are we still paying HST, and will we continue to until 2013?
A: This is a massive failure that has destabilized the provincial economy… It took them 11 months to bring in the HST, they’re saying they can’t get it out before 19 months? I don’t buy that at all. There’s no reason why that would be the case in my view. What they’re doing, presumably is continuing to tax people as if the referendum didn’t happened… and the petulance of both Ms. Clark and Mr. Falcon towards the voters, when it was the Liberal Party that lied, I think is pretty disrespectful.
Q: How do you and the BC NDP plan to make inroads in a riding that in recent years has been a Liberal stronghold?
A: There are no safe Liberal seats as far as I’m concerned. If you look at the last election, in spite of the disadvantage our candidate had – Dale Townsend had to drop out and Steve came in late – he did very will in the campaign… So we’re going to run a strong campaign here. I think Steve Gunner is an outstanding candidate. He’s a very thoughtful person, he’s a community person. He knows agricultural issues as well as anyone I’ve spoken to. And I think he’s going to give the Liberal candidate, whoever it is, a run for their money.
Q: People have a tendency to remember the worst of the BC NDP. Do you think voters are reaching a point where they’re ready to put the past behind and give the NDP a majority?
A: I think we have to earn it. I think people are ready to get rid of the Liberals… But we have to earn it. So I’m going to do it by saying what I’m going to do, by being modest about what you can do in a four-year term, by not over-promising, by saying how I’m going to pay for things and then by delivering after the election.
I think that message, everywhere I go – to the 64 communities I’ve visited – is what people want to hear and I think will vote for.
Q: Are you one of the 62 Twitter followers of the website, can’tafforddix.ca?
A: The Liberal Party website? The negative website? No. But I did tell my mom that it wasn’t true that I never took a bad picture.