Liberal MLA expects ‘same old’ NDP from new party leader

It’s game on now that the provincial NDP have selected a new leader, and the verbal jousting between the  B.C. Liberals and NDP has already started as the possibility of an election increases.

Vancouver-Kingsway’s MLA Adrian Dix won the B.C. NDP leadership race Sunday evening, finishing with 9,772 party members supporting him in the third round of voting. Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth finished second with 9,095 votes.

Parksville Liberal MLA Ron Cantelon said the NDP isn’t getting anything different in Dix than what it had in former leader Carole James.

“It’s the same old, same old,” said Cantelon. “It seems they’ve fallen back more on their base and the base is certainly far left and I think we can expect more programs to spend more money on government-run programs. I don’t expect anything new.”

Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog, who was on record backing Farnworth in the race, said his party can rally behind Dix and mount an attack on the Liberals.

“The enthusiasm in the room says the NDP wants to win and that’s the most important thing for me coming out of the convention,” said Krog. “The party believes he’s the right guy to take on (B.C. Premier) Christy Clark.”

A new session in the legislature begins next week. Krog said his party will get “a better signal” on Clark’s legislative agenda when both parties return to work.

“NDP’s priority is to do our job as opposition and what that means is reminding everyone that Christy Clark is Gordon Campbell repackaged,” said Krog.

The biggest issue facing both parties this session will be the HST referendum.

Cantelon said it will be up to Clark to decide when an election will be called. He accused the NDP of having no alternative solution to the HST.

“HST referendum will dominate the landscape and they seem to avoid any truth or consequences on that issue,” he said.

Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MLA Doug Routley was unavailable for comment.