Adrian Dix says how the riding of Saanich North and the Islands goes in this provincial election, so goes the rest of the province.
The leader of the NDP stopped in Sidney Tuesday morning, gathering with south Island candidates to announce his party’s plan to reduce child care costs in B.C.
Dix said the NDP would, if elected, reduce costs by up to $2,000 per year for each child in licensed infant or toddler daycare – essentially promising to reduce daycare fees by 20 per cent for the parents of an estimated 12,000 children.
“This is one of the most important elections in a long time,” he said, accompanied by party faithful in Sidney’s Tulista Park. “B.C.’s elections are always close. If people in this election want to vote to address issues around child poverty, they need to vote NDP.”
Dix said the party has a strong candidate in Gary Holman, who came within 300 votes of winning Saanich North and the Islands in 2009.
“This is a key riding in B.C.,” Dix said, agreeing that what happens there in this election is a test for the rest of the province.
“This is a traditional Liberal riding,” he continued, “yet, it is a changing riding. Gary came really close last time and issues we are addressing – pipelines, seniors care and child care – are important to voters here.”
Dix said this campaign is an important one when it comes to engaging voters, both young and old. He said that’s why it has been important for the NDP to talk about issues and not be overly critical – even of their opposition in this election. The Liberals, he continued, have done some good things, but that’s as far as he would go in his praise.
“People want to see their ideas reflected in electoral politics. We want to engage people, get youth involved as well as older people and have a mix of people and interests reflected in politics.”
Dix spent the morning in Sidney and was planing on being in Richmond and Greater Vancouver the rest of the day. Liberal leader Christy Clark started the day in Fort Nelson, emphasizing her party’s platform on the economy and job creation.
Dix said the NDP’s platform is its smallest, in terms of fiscal costs, with its own emphasis on skills training.
“B.C. has a skills shortage. This is something we’ve been hearing from business and we will work closely with them on that,” he said. “A lack of the right skills is a barrier to prosperity.”
He added that what B.C. needs is jobs, not advertisements telling people about a program to create jobs. Dix said one of the practical solutions offered by the NDP is an expansion of the film tax credit to the Victoria region, helping the industry to grow on the Island.
B.C. voters go to the polls on May 14.