BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix met two of the party’s three nomination candidates for the Chilliwack-Hope byelection before fielding media questions Thursday.
“We’re having a nomination contest, we’re not appointing a candidate,” Dix told reporters, referring to the single candidate acclaimed for the BC Conservative Party and the one BC Liberal so far who has declared his candidacy.
The official resignation this week of BC Liberal MLA Barry Penner has started the clock ticking on a byelection that must be held within the next six months.
Dix said the byelection contest builds voter interest in the party, and will hopefully push this riding into the NDP column and keep it there in the next provincial election in May, 2013.
But it appears the party is not going to rely on splitting the conservative vote, in this traditionally conservative riding, to pull off either victory.
“I think the way you win elections is to win votes for yourself,” he said, by talking about issues that concern voters, rather than launching attack ads against rival politicians as the BC Liberals have done.
“We intend to respond in a positive way and talk about issues,” Dix said.
Byelection candidates Kathleen Stephany, Dennis Anderson and Gwen O’Mahony have been stumping for votes at small “coffee klatches” held at members’ homes. The nomination meeting takes place Jan. 28 at the Mt. Cheam Lions Club Hall, not the Landing Sports Centre as announced earlier.
Stephany was taking care of an ailing parent and did not attend the Thursday meeting with Dix.
O’Mahony said the candidates “squared off” at the coffee klatches held in Harrison, Agassiz and Chilliwack, but “it’s always a little different going against a team member … what (winning the nomination) comes down to is presentation.”
O’Mahony pointed out that she is “fresh from the trenches” of two election campaigns and has won the highest percentage of votes the party has obtained in this riding so far.
Adamson stressed his firsthand experience in government as he is starting his second term in elected office as the electoral area director for Yale at the Fraser Valley Regional District board.
“I know the issues, I’ve made the tough decisions,” he said.
Adamson pointed out his strength as a populist politician, which he believes will attract BC Liberals to the NDP side of the ledger in upcoming elections.
“I had a BC Liberal tell me yesterday, they’re going to vote for me because they like me, they like what I’ve done as the (Yale) area director, so they’re going to vote NDP, even though they’re Liberal.”