Thursday, May 16, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, May 16, 2013

Examining the B.C. election outcome

No New Democrat anywhere in the country can afford to brush off Tuesday’s upset defeat in British Columbia. That starts with those who toil at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill.

Ontario’s Andrea Horwath and Thomas Mulcair really needed British Columbians to lead by example by handing the reins of their province to the NDP.

B.C. leader Adrian Dix’s campaign was supposed to provide the template for Howarth and Mulcair’s own bids for government. Once in power, it was hoped that he would showcase the NDP’s ability to manage a major provincial economy.

Like his Ontario and federal counterparts, Dix had spent the pre-writ period smoothing the edges of his party and it seemed that it would pay off.

Few NDP leaders have ever entered an election campaign with as big a lead as Dix had when the B.C. writ was dropped last month. His strategy borrowed heavily from Jack Layton’s 2011 recipe.

As an aside, it makes matters worse for the New Democrats that the masterminds in charge of the B.C. campaign were the same people who had earned bragging rights by bringing the party to the major role of official opposition in the House of Commons in the last federal election.

Instead of mapping out a safe path to power for 21st-century New-Democrats, Layton’s former chief-strategist Brian Topp and his acolytes ended up highlighting the daunting roadblocks that stand in their way.

Like Layton in 2011, Dix spent the campaign on the high road. There he was exposed to relentless Liberal attacks on the economic competence of his party. (Source: The Record)