Opinion Column

Dix, NDP up for the fight


A lot can happen during a season. You have to have an awful lot go right to win a Stanley Cup.

- ex-Philadelphia Flyers captain Bobby Clarke

The long playoff series has come down to the final battle between the two top teams - let the Stanley Cup Final of B.C. politics - a provincial election - begin.

On Sunday, the B.C New Democrats chose their new captain, Adrian Dix, to go up against the B.C. Liberal now wearing the "C" on her jersey - Christy Clark.

And what a tough series it will be.

Expect hard checking into the boards, slapshots, high sticking, spearing, game misconduct penalties and bench-clearing brawls.

Yah gotta love B.C. politics, it's a beauty!

The strategies of both teams are clear going into this contest.

Dix is a scrapper who will put constant pressure on Clark to cough up the puck in her own end. That's what former captain - ex-premier Gordon Campbell - did with the Harmonized Sales Tax that ended his playing career.

Dix, a friend I supported for leader, has already dropped the gloves on the government for hiking personal Medical Services Plan premiums in January to pay for corporate tax cuts.

Clark is a tough competitor who will try keeping Dix on the defensive and held to shots from the left wing only, while being cheered on by big business.

One key coaching decision: B.C. New Democrats agreed when Dix said "you can't score a goal from centre ice."

Dix points out, as I did in this column, that the NDP lost 40,000 actual votes between the 2005 and 2009 elections.

To win the NDP must mobilize its traditional base and get voters who stayed home out to the polls.

That's why Dix made pledges like restoring the minimum corporate tax on banks eliminated by the B.C. Liberals - and using the money to help students attend post-secondary education.

Lastly, expect to hear this taunt: "Dix is a hitter, Clark is a quitter."

Clark quit Campbell's government in 2005 shortly after he moved her to a job she didn't want - Minister of Children and Families.

Clark said she was leaving to spend time with family, but eight months later tried to win the Non-Partisan Association's Vancouver mayor nomination.

When she lost that contest to Sam Sullivan, she quit the NPA. Clark not only didn't run to be an NPA councillor, she didn't even knock on one door for the party she wanted to lead.

Her approach was evident again in the B.C. Liberal leadership race where she refused to commit to running as an MLA if she didn't win.

If Clark wants to beat the very competitive Dix there's one position she absolutely cannot play for her team - self-centred.

Read more from Bill Tieleman at thetyee.ca Email: weststar@telus.net Website: billtieleman.blogspot.com