Dix resignation draws local support

Former candidate says new leadership will allow party to refocus

At least one local New Democrat believes the resignation of Adrian Dix could bolster the party’s long-term fortunes.

Dix announced Wednesday that he will resign as party leader by mid-2014 at the latest.

“Any time a leader steps down based on personal convictions, it’s a good thing,” said Steve Gunner, who ran for the NDP in the Shuswap constituency in May’s provincial election.

Dix’s leadership has been in question since the May provincial election when the Liberals earned another term despite polls showing the NDP were poised for victory.

“I believe he realized in the post-election analysis that his leadership was not necessarily what voters wanted in the last two weeks (of the campaign,” said Gunner, adding that the NDP’s election loss was a failure of campaigning and not the public’s disinterest in the party’s core values.

Gunner is pleased that Dix will remain on until mid-2014 to allow for a smooth transition.

“We should get a solidly grounded leader,” he said, adding that Dix has been a positive influence.

“He has pulled the party together. We are more cohesive and he brought us together as a big team.”

The next provincial election is in 2017.

Eric Foster, Liberal MLA for Vernon-Monashee, was not surprised by Dix’s decision to resign.

“It (election) didn’t work out for them as they had hoped,” he said, adding that the NDP’s leadership issues won’t impact the Liberals.

“We are in the business of governing and we will be for the next four years.”

Foster says he expects the NDP opposition will continue to monitor the government’s activities but “we will represent all British Columbians to the best of our abilities.”