Change for the Better, One Big Step Now

It’s the NDP that needs change for the better

This weekend the BC NDP Provincial Council meets to begin the review of the disastrous 2013 campaign.

From what I see it is set to fail, much like Dix’s campaign itself.

This was a campaign that Adrian Dix and the BC NDP were supposed to win going away.  Instead they lost badly.

Dix didn’t lose because Clark’s Liberals were good (they were) but because his campaign was so bad.

Under his leadership the BC NDP were ill prepared, incompetent in the air and on the ground, deliberately under informed, unable to respond and technologically in the dark ages.

Money wasn’t the problem it has always been.  Dix and his team spent more money getting fewer votes than any NDP campaign in history.  They spent more than 3 times what the 2009 campaign spent to get a significantly smaller portion of the vote.

The campaign was an enormous waste of money.  Think about that the next time you get one of those relentless phone calls or e-mails.

The problem according to MLAs and members of the campaign team was Dix – his foolishly amateur ‘positive’ strategy, his performance, his astonishing micro-management coupled with his inability to work with a team, including his caucus and his candidates.

There are, I’m told, at least two reports on the campaign written by senior insiders, one of which was prepared for a debrief held last week.   One report is said to be a damning review of the Leader’s lack of campaign skills.  (Will council get to see those reports before it decides how to review the campaign?  What do you think?)

Yet Dix refuses to take responsibility, offering no indication that he intends to leave.  It appears that he has decided to stick around to stay in charge of the official campaign review.

In other words, the problem has decided to oversee the solution.  If that doesn’t undermine the party’s credibility it’s only because it has nowhere further to fall.


With Dix in charge it begs the question:  why bother holding a review? It all seems set up to defuse blame and save Dix’s leadership.  Why trust it will get at the real problem and convince Dix to go?

Here’s what people close to the campaign have to say about it.

No campaign decision was too small for the leader to interfere.  Conversely no campaign decision was too big for the leader to do anything but go it alone if he wanted.  See Kinder Morgan.  Dix didn’t just blindside voters, he blindsided his own campaign team and MLAs.

The one thing Dix refused to take any part in was improving his own performance.  The watchword was ‘authentic’ as in ‘a bad suit is authentic’.  Dix was allergic to training and improving his own performance.  As a result, the more voters saw of him the less they saw him as as a Premier-in-waiting.

‘Authenticity’ led Dix to throw away the decent line he was given to deal with the memo and come up with his own, the infamous “I was thirty-five”, giving the Liberals one of their best ads of the campaign.  Christy probably sent him a thank-you note.

As somebody who would know told me, the story of the campaign is that “the bus managed the anchor, breaking rule number one.  Dix made all the decisions.  Topp’s big mistake was not resigning.”

But Topp didn’t resign.  Instead he went on to direct and implement the disastrous polling, advertising, tour, targeting and GOTV campaign.  Not one key element of the campaign worked.

Several people pointed out to me that mistakes piled upon mistakes right to the bitter end.  The final tour blitz took enormous effort and resources at a key point in the campaign.  Of all the ridings visited in the whirlwind final day we only won one.  It’s likely that the tour took resources away from some who should have been pulling vote rather than marshalling an event for the leader.


Reviewing all of the above with Dix still in the leadership seems to me impossible.  The party needs a change in leadership – an interim leader for example – before undertaking the renewal it so desperately needs.

Failing that several things must happen for the review to have even a smattering of credibility.

It must be seen to be independent:  panel members must come with their own expertise and have no ties to the powers that be.

How about someone like Michael Balagus, former Manitoba Chief of Staff and Campaign Director? Dix complained about Balagus’ presentation at our last convention because Balagus’ strategy of defining the opposition wasn’t in line with Dix’s strategy of letting Christy off the hook.  But Balagus was correct.  Shouldn’t we ask people who have a record of getting it right to help review our mistakes?

Last BC election our pollster Leslie Turnbull – conflict disclosed, a close friend of mine – called 84 of 85 constituencies correctly.  This time, Dix kept her company out of the campaign. Our polling turned out to be wildly inaccurate.  Turnbull would be a good person to help the party understand why our polling was a useless mess.

(I’m told the campaign pollster was fired part way through after telling Dix the polling didn’t support his pipeline strategy.  Firing people for telling you the truth is a very bad sign in a campaign.  On top of this, there was no targeted riding polling done in the campaign.  At the end they had no clue which constituencies were in play and where they should assign resources.)

I acknowledge I have a serious conflict in the area of party advertising, but it seems to me even crazier now that the makers of ‘Christy Crunch’, who have a record of winning provincial elections across Canada, were discarded by Brian Topp in favour of the makers of those insipid and useless commercials the campaign spent millions on.

And why was there no money for a decent last week media buy?  And why was our buy so weak on programming that women watch?

Someone with advertising expertise needs to evaluate how and why those terrible decisions were made.  After all, we wasted millions on ads that had voters shrugging their shoulders and changing the channel while the Liberals killed us with the weather vane spot.

The review needs independent members who will ask the right questions.  And there are a lot more of those questions.  For example:

  • Where did all the money go?
  • What was the social media strategy?  How much money was spent on social media for what return?
  • What was the polling strategy and why did our pollsters fail so badly?
  • What was the advertising strategy? Were the ads tested?
  • Were our opponent’s message, arguments and ads tested? If not, why not?
  • Why were central data banks separate from local ones causing enormous duplication?
  • Why couldn’t we pull the vote we identified?
  • Why did the central campaign disregard local intel that said the leader was a problem on the phone and doorstep? I understand this was communicated often in the last half of the campaign.
  • Why was the campaign absent in ethnic communities and media?
  • What targeting was done and why did it fail?
  • Why the hell wasn’t the campaign relevant to women – our key demographic?
  • Why did we know so little about our audience?  Did we even bother to understand who our persuadable voters were and design a campaign to reach them?
  • Was the platform tested? Who developed the release strategy and why?  Critics and others complain that the platform contained good retail politics that was lost in the release and debate over cost?
  • Is it true the Leader was rewriting the platform right up to its release?
  • Was the campaign strategy tested with our targets?
  • Was there even an Election Planning Committee.  If so did it ever meet during the campaign?

There are dozens of questions about all aspects of the campaign.  The review should answer all of them, ruthlessly.

Provincial council and the party should have access to key information like the Campaign plan, budgets, media plans, outreach and targeting etc…

And they should have access to the existing debriefs from campaign staff.


I could go on and on about this awful campaign, but it seems clear to me that if Dix refuses to take responsibility in any concrete way Provincial Council has a duty to step up to the plate and ensure the review team has the expertise and independence to provide the party with a meaningful review, no matter how bad it is for the leader.

What I really mean to say is someone should tell Dix to go so the party can get on with the enormous job of rebuilding.  Failing that party members and council should grab control of the review so it is not a whitewash.


With this election the BC NDP really has hit its “COPE” moment – that place where good people have to decide to stay or go, to help modernize or leave and let it ossify into irrelevance.  It’s time to change or die.

This entry was posted in Adrian Dix, BC NDP, BC Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to Change for the Better, One Big Step Now

  1. Ken says:

    Its not just Dix.

    “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

  2. e.a.f. says:

    AGT’s comments are correct, as is Gary Lauk’s old comment. Gary Lauk, now that goes way back! He and Emery Barnes, fun team! The Art’s Club days.

    Len Lauk, he used to worrry about his little brother, Gary.

    If the NDP doesn’t do something constructive this weekend, and take some advise from this blog, they are fried.

  3. Muriel Wiens says:


  4. Gini says:

    The election loss was not totally Adrian Dix’s fault, IMHO. The NDP’s downfall started with the ‘baker’s dozen’ (I prefer to call them the ‘dirty dozen’) when they threw Carole James under the bus at a time when the BC Liberals were at their most vulnerable, when Gordo quit in disgrace.

    If that wasn’t stupid enough, they then elected Adrian Dix as their leader, a nice guy to be sure, but coming in with way too much baggage. Either Horgan or Farnworth would have been a much better choice. However, that is all water under the bridge, and the NDP must get past all that and look to the future, if indeed they want to have a future.

    It sure doesn’t seem that they want to have a future, because even after the disastrous election results, what’s the first thing they do? Put Carole Gordon back in the Westside-Kelowna by-election race. How stupid is that? The woman was only able to pick up half of the votes of a winery owner who did very little for his constituents since first elected in 2009. The NDP should have pulled out all the stops and put in the most intelligent, charismatic candidate they could find, someone who would make Christy look like the dunce she is.

    But (to paraphrase Christy) ya know what? This has been the NDP’s modus operandi for years, especially in the Okanagan. They continually run losers because, guess what?…… they know they’re not going to win anyway. I found that out when I volunteered to help in the 2009 election. I went to the constituency office to pick up some campaign literature and was surprised to find it was in a woman’s home, and there was nobody working there except her. I introduced myself and offered my services, she gave me some flyers to deliver, and I never heard from her again.

    What do they need to do to survive? Well, first off, they have to stop all the in-fighting and start to work together as a team. They also have to stop thinking of themselves as losers and find someone like Dave Barrett to get the team back in the game again.

  5. Gini says:

    The election loss was not totally Adrian Dix’s fault, IMHO. The NDP’s downfall started with the ‘baker’s dozen’ (I prefer to call them the ‘dirty dozen’) when they threw Carole James under the bus at a time when the BC Liberals were at their most vulnerable, when Gordo quit in disgrace.

    If that wasn’t stupid enough, they then elected Adrian Dix as their leader, a nice guy to be sure, but coming in with way too much baggage. Either Horgan or Farnworth would have been a much better choice. However, that is all water under the bridge, and the NDP must get past all that and look to the future, if indeed they want to have a future.

    It sure doesn’t seem that they want to have a future, because even after the disastrous election results, what’s the first thing they do? Put Carole Gordon back in the Westside-Kelowna by-election race. How stupid is that? The woman was only able to pick up half of the votes of a winery owner who did very little for his constituents since first elected in 2009. The NDP should have pulled out all the stops and put in the most intelligent, charismatic candidate they could find, someone who would make Christy look like the dunce she is.

    But (to paraphrase Christy) ya know what? This has been the NDP’s modus operandi for years, especially in the Okanagan. They continually run losers because, guess what?…… they know they’re not going to win anyway! I found that out when I volunteered to help in the 2009 election. I went to the constituency office to pick up some campaign literature and was surprised to find it was in a woman’s home, and there was nobody working there except her. I introduced myself and offered my services, she gave me some flyers to deliver, and I never heard from her again.

    What do they need to do to survive? Well, first off, they have to stop all the in-fighting and start to work together as a team. They also have to stop thinking of themselves as losers and find someone like Dave Barrett to get the team back in the game again.

  6. Gini says:

    Sorry……..I didn’t mean to post that twice!!

  7. Ian says:

    Muriel, I hope I haven’t confused you. I haven’t got the replies working properly on my site and I was trying to reply to a Liberal who I believe misses the point. It came out as if I’m replying to you for some reason so I’ve removed it. I do think the few Liberal comments here show the governing party hasn’t changed it’s spots and that’s good for us on the centre left. And like all the commenters here thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  8. raven says:

    Arleigh Chase

    Your comments have the ring of truth. Something is off. The new initiative to have an advance poll at the KELOWNA International Airport set off my radar….

  9. Jean Macintyre says:

    Oh boy – that should give everyone food for ‘discussion’ tomorrow!
    And so many people worked so damned hard too!

  10. Jean Macintyre says:

    And so many people worked so damned hard!

  11. Ryan Painter says:

    I was one of two voter contact organizers in the Vernon-Monashee riding. This was my first time being this involved in the campaign. There was a fear going right through the campaign about staying positive. There was a point when the NDP released a “Reality Check” about why they weren’t going negative on Liberal Ministers who had done bad things that deserved negative commentary. Our campaign that day was thrown into a tizzy. We were called about this press release asking “Does your candidate see this as a backdoor to going negative” and we spent more time trying to roll back what was done instead of sticking to the message; there are Minister in the government who had some serious questions to answer.

    I’ve written on this recently but at the ground level, we had lots of volunteers, paid staff and lots of funding. We should have won the Vernon riding but alas we didn’t and we felt strongly that it was the central campaign that hurt us. We did manage to increase our identified supporters and our vote count over 2009 but not nearly enough. One of our volunteers had a suggestion: it’s possible that there were BC Liberal voters in 2009 disgusted with Gordo and parked their votes with the Green party. Seeing a possible NDP rout this year, they jumped back into the fray and bumped up the local candidates support over 2009.

    I don’t know why we lost in Venon. We worked hard (I worked from March 21 to election day and put in 10-11 hour days). I had one half day off in this period. I’ve gone over in my head and locally, our campaign was practically flawless. Why we didn’t connect: the answer lies with the central campaign.

  12. Ke Dongshan says:

    Gini: the problem with Carole James is that she had even lesser popular image as Adrian Dix. She was not some victim of a nefarious Bakers’ Dozen. The stranglehold she had on the BCNDP’s internal culture, plus her own utter lack of charisma, brought her down. But you are correct with Dix having too much baggage. I’d add that his track record of bad decisions let to him not being Glen Clark’s “class warfare” protege, but simply Carole James “moderate and bland” 2.0.

    Dix has to go. Topp should be banned from entering B.C. ever again. The entire BCNDP Provincial Executive must not reoffer themselves for election at the 2013 convention. The BCNDP needs to clean house and bring in people with political bloodlust for the vicious BC Liberals.

  13. CGHZD says:

    You don’t bring a banana to a knife fight. The NDP campaign was an enormous, mind numbing failure. Everyone attached to this debacle should be thoroughly ashamed of being so ignorant as to not call the Lieberals on 12 years of theft, sleaze and out and out corruption. What in hell were they thinking? All involved in this massive cluster fuck should step aside, especially Dix and the top echelon of the organizing idiots.
    A good start to bring back some NDP credibility would be to slide into the gutter along with Chrispy in her by-election and pound the living hell out of everything the Lieberals have done…. even add some new ones and let them deny it. At this point it really doesn’t matter just as long as she doesn’t get a seat.

  14. Crazy eh... says:

    I can see this “review” two ways. Either a knock down drag em out, bonafide lets get this solved once and for all, out with the old, appoint a new leader, and above all come up with a new idea of what they should be to the voters in this province. Or conversely, a mediocre, lame duck event, where you might as well get the casket ready and bury what’s left of the NDP brand.

    To an outsider, you simply cannot play the “game” the way the NDP have for the past 7 years and expect to form anything but an opposition. The infighting is over. Your enemy is the BC liberal party, and now the green party. You cannot possibly expect to win anything, when you continually thrash your leaders, and then wait for another recruit to come along.

    You want to win next time….get ugly, do whatever it takes. Press the scandal issues to the limit. You had more than ample ammunition this past election. The NDP should have buried the liberal government big time…you should have won this one hands down…..

  15. Pingback: A bold new post from Ian Reid on the BC NDP. | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

  16. Constance says:

    Absolutely brilliant analysis! Every point is bang on. Of course, the architects can’t determine why the building collapsed.

    As for Leadership; there is a short session of the Legislature coming up (4 weeks probably). If Dix resigned before that adjourns, it would be the only focus. He should stay on until it’s over, and then announce his resignation. The caucus will pick an interim leader. Finally, the Leadership convention date is set at the upcoming Provincial convention in November.

    Had I been the President or Provincial Secretary at the time of this debacle, I would have tendered my resignation immediately. They haven’t – which speaks volumes in itself – but it’s a safe bet they won’t be there following the November convention.

    I suspect those who may be encouraging Dix to stay on include those who went after Carole. The arrogance of it all astounds and sickens me. We are at a crossroads; time to change or die indeed.

  17. eastendleo says:

    “The campaign was an enormous waste of money. Think about that the next time you get one of those relentless phone calls or e-mails.”

    After 40 years of dutifully donating and then dutifully voting for the NDP, this campaign has broken me. If I am to ever help fund a NDP campaign or vote for a NDP candidate, they will have to win me over each and every time.
    But it had better start with Dix going. If he’s unable to find the door, the party had better help him find it.

  18. B D says:

    I think if had’t been for the “bakers dozen” we would have Premier James

  19. Kevin Logan says:

    It astounds me to no end, what ends people will go to drive their own political agendas.

    I challenge each and every commenter here who has suggested anyone has worked to maintain Dix’s leadership, to provide ONE piece of evidence where anyone has “encouraged to Dix to stay on.” Anywhere at anytime – just one piece of real evidence. Besides baseless speculation in mainstream press and among conservative pundits who spend their days mixing strong Kool aid with their own bath water.

    Come on, any of you, ONE piece of evidence. AGT in particular with his “pinhead and idiots” attack on what he defines as the “left” in this party.

    And then of course he goes on to declare he does not support the party, but yet we are to accept his prescriptions and wisdom! ( BTW – just a suggestion, accepting dictates from your enemies and allowing them to communicate for you, is probably not the best idea.)

    Has any of AGT’s conservative disciples thought – no realized – even for a minute – that the NDPs embracing of conservative hacks like Martyn Brown, himself and others who took it upon themselves to paint the NDP as more conservative than Clark’s liberals, by running to the front of the parade and “communicating” on behalf of the leader and party, contributed – NO – WAS THE REASON for the “surprising election upset?” Any of you?


    The single most outstanding aspect of this election experience was how the mainstream and oily conservative operatives crafted a narrative that was so self-serving and so utterly detached from reality that issues like siding with the Provinces majority in opposing Kinder Morgan somehow got twisted into the reason the NDP lost the election.

    Its the old Goebbels line of the largest lies if oft repeated are the most effective “truths” syndrome.

    The fact is these conservative operatives left the impression amongst the electorate that somehow Chisty’s party was void of conservatives and instead the NDP was the ‘small c conservative” choice. FATAL!

    Moreover, their operatives infiltrated our war room and dictated the details of the BCNDP campaign! This is not wild eyed socialist speculation, there is evidence, and even a trail of breadcrumbs for Christ sakes!

    I have not heard one person campaign or even argue for Dix to stay on till the next election, but rather only reasoned arguments that simply support the Party’s democratic policies and processes. Such as leadership reviews and conventions while accepting that the party has to carry on and do the business of opposing the government.

    Yet the conservative driven operatives who insist on blaming everything wrong with the NDP on the left, consistently spew incoherent gibberish in favour of fellow conservative operatives within the party and work to push the party further into irrelevance as they successfully did in the last election, yet no one holds them accountable. Or even pushes back for that matter, instead, we get all excited that some conservative hack talks favourably about us! Pathetic.

    Its time the NDP return to its roots, properly define its purpose, principles, policies and push the conservative pragmatists back to where they belong. In the tent of the BC Liberals AND NOT IN OUR WAR ROOM or COMMUNICATING on our behalf!

  20. simo says:

    Sometimes it’s helpful to get advice from people you don’t agree with or ones who don’t share your point of view…to have your answers questioned, in other words. And
    The Kinder Morgan announcement was a big wtf? moment in my mind. Do we not have a process for approval, or not? Would it not have been better to announce something like say 6 conditions for approval?
    Maybe we were outfoxed?

  21. John Scull says:

    Maybe a review panel could even include some people who didn’t vote for the NDP or didn’t vote at all. Those are the folks who need to be brought back or brought in.

  22. Sub-Boreal says:

    The dilemma that all of us who are amateur political participants face is that we’re pretty much at the mercy of the “beige dictatorship”*. The time and money that we devote to politics is at the expense of our other commitments (family, job, community), and tends to be episodic (during campaigns) or else at a steady but very low level. So it’s quite difficult, perhaps impossible, to displace the apparatchiks – they’re always there, and always will be after we go back to the rest of our lives. Temporary insurrections will succeed from time to time, and the occasional grassroots activist will get nominated or win a party office. But if they’re not eventually beigified, they’ll just be marginalized out of the inner party.

    While Dix is a perfect example of the beige apparatchik, I’m not sure how useful a focus on leadership is in this current discussion. He ran almost exactly the kind of beige campaign that I would have expected from Carole James if she’d had a 3rd try …. or Mike Farnworth … or ……. Two years later, what do we have to show for all of the turmoil of the last leadership upheaval?

    Many commenters here and elsewhere have expressed the hope that John Horgan would have run a stronger campaign. While he was my first choice in 2011, he has shown just enough examples of questionable judgement to make me reconsider. In particular, he seems to have totally drunk the LNG Koolaid, and undermined Dix’s deathbed Kinder-Morgan conversion by some of his own freelancing.

    So I’d be really interested in hearing about this weekend’s Provincial Council meeting from my constituency’s delegate. Reporting back to the local membership should be an automatic process – but I can’t find anything at listing local constituency executive names and contact information. Who ya gonna call?

    [* see: ]

  23. off-the-radar says:

    Great post Ian, completely agree with you.

    As a progressive citizen, who worked very hard for the NDP in this last provincial election, it is very reassuring to see meaningful real discussion here. Like-minded souls who really care about our province.

    Also must recommend the link that sub-boreal just posted. It is excellent reading on how political elites have hijacked “democratic” processes around the world.

    Still laughing about CJHZD’s comment about “bringing a banana to a knife fight”. Best meme yet.

  24. Pete says:

    Voted, donated and workde for the NDP for about 30 years or more.

    I’m discouraged when a guy like Tsumakis is the only guy to point out that the NDP lost the working stiff vote this election. Our union encountered bitter resisitance from the membership while we tried to pull the vote. Simply put; they saw the party as being a threat to their jobs. Who can blame them really.

  25. Brian Powell says:

    wow… where do I start… neither Carol James or Dix were electable because they are boring, charisma-less, spineless, uninspiring bores who should have stayed in the background with the policy wonks (no offence to policy wonks, they actually control the levers of power if the machine gets engaged).

    While I respect the ethos of the “high road” approach… we are in the REAL world where the bullies are still knocking over the nice people!! As soon as Dix said “I was 35” I knew that NO one had advised him to say that and that we had lost it. ANY self aware voter would look at that and think “hmmm, you can use the ‘I was a child and didn’t know better’ bit when you are, say 11 to perhaps 18 years old but leaders in high office have absolute accountability”. Dix shouldn’t have been let anywhere near the NDP leadership.

    I have been around professional photography, advertising, and the media for a long time and you can’t sell people on a bland, over talkative, whiny, ugly person when the other choice is someone who is moderately telegenic, consistent, clearly confident, and walks upright!! This isn’t rocket science people!!!

    And the female vote?? Clark scooped the women with pics of her and her son – that’s all it took!! Dix has NO sex appeal at all, to anyone – and YES, that matters a lot in the real world!! As a man, I did not see him as a mentor. My gay male friends thought he was hideous, and women I know admired his “earnestness” but wouldn’t cross the bar to talk to him. I mean, his hair alone… oh, never mind…

    Gregor Robertson got in on a wining smile and perfect machine that signed up 2X the NPA members – dead simple and repeatable. I have spent time with him with his shoes off and HE has no personality worth mentioning!

    The NDP is lost in a naïve dream of crating a fair world and is not willing to assert itself for fear of offending anyone, with disastrous results. I don’t say this lightly – I have worked in child protection, mental health, and addictions for a long time and can tell you that the neoliberal agenda is killing people in our community as I write this. Where is the clear, righteous anger that motivates revolution (or at least a lively debate)??

    Social change is a slow, messy, multi-generational process… get your heads out of your asses and get the **** on with it!!

    I would be happy to consult – 778-896-0134

  26. Jim Thurstead says:

    “Dix remained determined that he will stay at the helm unless members decide otherwise this fall. Dix received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.”

    I guess that about says it all and sums it up!

  27. Kevin Logan says:


    Absolutely, it is imperative to heed the rhetoric of opponents, however, what I am pointing out is way beyond the “Them on us” aspect of modern day messaging.

    The fact is with Martyn Brown and AGT among others positioning as they did and dragging the NDP along with them, left people with the impression that indeed the NDP was more akin and aligned with the conservative core of Campbell’s era than Clark was!

    That is fatal, and not simply observing the views of your opponents so as you might better position yourself.

    And on Kinder Morgan. The earth day announcement had nothing to do with Kinder Morgan as it was planned. There were no talking points, no material in the press package for the day that even mentioned Kinder Morgan. The platform committee was not aware of it, because no Kinder Morgan announcement was planned or scheduled or even apart of the platform nor had any potential for a “deliverable” as many pushed and pushed for a long time on that front and were stone walled.

    Rather, on Earth Day, Dix once again attempted to get the media to cover the Equivalency Agreement as that was the main deliverable for the day, and a couple of other positions that defined the so called environmental platform.

    Near the very end of the press conference Dix mused about Kinder Morgan and observed that people probably are not supportive of turning the greenest city into a dilbit port.

    He even prefaced the comment by saying ” of course we still need to see a proposal” and ” it SEEMS to be what KM is proposing is such a major transformation” that he felt it would not be supported by the greenest city, which is of course Robertsons position exactly, but of course Robertson hid away this election and did not even come out to support Dix once the media took that comment and ignored the equivalency agreement (again) and instead ran with the fabricated flip flop “Kinder surprise” story.

    They simply shoe horned him into their (liberal) narrative on Dix and have continued to do so every day ever since. Dix and the “Team” subsequently decided to own it and never pushed back, as it was clearly Christy who was the flip flopper concealing information from the public, but with the help of the msm they were able to define Dix that way instead and hand Christy the win over the pipeline. Or so the narrative goes.

    See here :

    A truly amazing feat. A case book study in spin and propaganda.

    A trend that dominated the whole campaign, the Liberals ran on their weaknesses and managed to define the NDP as the incompetent fiscal managers, poor job creators, flip floppers and deceivers. Meanwhile any review of the facts proves that the Liberals better fit that description. I have never seen anything like it, ever before, and to watch it all happen with not even a mention or the slightest push back, was breathtaking.

  28. Helen says:

    If there was a disconnect between the behaviour of the leader and the party’s expectations (as clearly there was) isn’t that the responsibility of those who elected him for the position as much as of the person himself?

  29. Typical of Logan: Immature, doctrinaire, petulant, defiant and wrong.

    Sounds like another NDP leadership candidate Gerry Scott will love. What a winner!

    Unless you toss the O’Briens and Logan and Sihotas from your party, you’re going NOWHERE.
    The polemics of yesteryear are OVER. Your own members stayed home or voted for the BC Liberals. That’s a HUGE message that doctrinaire idiots continue to pretend just happened.

    Kinder Morgan wasn’t simply a suicidal move, it was a double tap to the temple, mob style, on everyone who votes NDP that cares for their jobs before dogma and Van Jones style BULLSHIT.

    But no one wake Kevy…he’s busy attacking anyone who identifies as anything other than NDP. As if Martyn Brown and I ran the NDP campaign anywhere.

    If we had, you would have won!

  30. raven says:

    Kevin, first, I must tell you I helped put up NDP signs as a kid, dropped leaflets for many years, and have never voted for any other party.

    I follow Alex Tsakumis faithfully, and you are dead wrong, the message I received from Alex is that we desparately needed a return to decency, and honesty in government. He exposed Liberal misdeeds with courage, and diligence, unlike the MSM.

    I had big problems with the nicey-nice campaign, but voted NDP as I always do. Clearly your argument does not apply to me, or my family. My old timers saw the b.s. strategy as what it was: a crappy losing game. Dix played nice ‘cos he would have been smeared with his own stuff.

    Alex is not your problem.

  31. Gini says:

    Kevin, I just re-read your blog in the Common Sense Canadian, and I’m in agreement with you on most points, especially what you wrote about Ken Boessenkool. It should have been obvious to everyone in the BC NDP, including Dix, that with that team, and especially with Boessenkool, the 2013 campaign was doomed.

    What I’d like to know is, just how much power does the party leader wield? Could Dix not have said at the outset, “I am not going to work with a campaign team that I’m not comfortable with.”? Good grief………a loser from the Federal NDP leadership race, and a reject from Stephen Harper’s and Christy Clark’s governments? Get real!

    I have never become a member of the NDP or any other political party, but I have always admired the man who became B.C.’s first NDP Premier, Dave Barrett. And when I read his line that you quoted in your blog: “The NDP should change its name, because it’s no longer new or democratic”, it resonated with me as only a Dave Barrett quote can.

    Someone should make a banner with that quote on it and hang it in the Provincial Council venue for the review team and all the NDP members to reflect on.

  32. Susanne Shaw says:

    I agree with the Dave Barrett quote. Democracy is paramount–along with brains, hearts and souls. The thing is–the steely-eyed inner core of the NDP has been running roughshod over party politics with their wrong-headed policies and antics. It’s so bad, that one can’t help but think that at least a few of these people have been bought by the Koch Bros. Why not? Those oily barons have bought the “charitable” Fraser Instapuke and likely its spawn Harper and anything else elected in Western Canada for the last 10 plus years. Then there’s the newby oil baron David Black who owns the media to give the rightwing all the free advertising they could ever want–especially when it’s disguised and presented as “news”. The problem, too, is that most of the population are terribly gullible and unsophisticated. They watch Gold Rush and the Swamp people. Look how many still believe that a couple of neophyte Cesna pilots could fly into two buildings, making them go down like a planned implosion demolition (while never making the connection that no plane ever flew into the 3rd tower that went down, or even questioning “who the hell owned all those buildings and who were his friends?” Silverstein got out of a billion dollar asbestos removal problem, maybe by helping Mossad’s Dagan get American backing with a fake attack to bring on “war forever” policies , so that Cheney, Haliburtons, Rockefellas, etc. would have bottom lines going through the roof.) Too many insentient people and too many soul-less ones with too much money, alas!

  33. The Exile from Main Street says:

    An excellent post, Ian. I agree with those who say the seeds of this disaster were sown when the ’13’ decided to ignore the party’s strong support of Carole James and force her to resign. I doubt any of them will ever have the moxie to apologize for this treason, but I hope in their hearts they know. We can’t undo it, but we must never forget.

    I supported Adrian for leader. I like Adrian. I think he would have made a fine cabinet minister. He is a smart man, but campaign strategy is not his strong suit. I think he has been irreparably damaged by this campaign, and by the failures of his team. Unfortunately, I have no choice but to agree that he should not wait for the convention – he should resign now and clear the air for a genuinely independent review of the campaign. The NDP needs to understand fully the magnitude of the errors and how to avoid them in the future. This cannot be done if, as one poster suggested, the architects of the disaster are in charge of the review.

    I have more questions to add to your excellent list:

    Why did we not run on our strengths: health care, education and care for seniors?

    Why did we fail to talk about families, why did we let Christy own families as a concern?

    We did we talk endlessly about ourselves winning, rather than what we can do for people to make their lives better?

    We did we not learn from the weakness of the ‘Time for a Change’ message of the Harcourt campaign? Gordon Wilson nearly overtook us in 1991.

    Why did we refuse to recognize how Glen Clark won in BC 1996 and how NDP Premiers Calvert (SK), Doer and Selinger (MB) and Dexter (NS) won?

    Why could we not understand that environmental issues are a double-edged sword that undermine our working class core vote?

    Who made the decision to censor the Manitoba campaign manager Michael Balagus and not allow him to report in his presentation to our convention, that negative advertising was a critical part of Greg Selinger’s election victory?

    And finally, why did we fail to inspire?

  34. Kevin Logan says:


    Kinder Morgan, the proposal, is suicidal for BC and the pipelines a double tap to the temple. There is no jobs argument and not even a solid economic argument. Its all pain no gain. In the future you may want to actually work to understand the content and substance of the issues you comment on, as a result you would not have to rely on childish attacks, name calling and baseless accusations all the while making a fool out of yourself by exposing your tenuous grip on issues fundamental to the future of the Province.

    Additionally your constant smearing of the leader of the party and its members for which you disagree with, based solely on ideology, as “doctrinaire” socialists once again exhibits your tenuous grip on reality.

    I am very reluctant to engage in this level of dialogue on Ian’s blog as since the election I think Ian has made an extraordinary effort to communicate serious issues, and it is therefor unfortunate to come across your posts which devolve the dialogue and steer the thread into the ditch. As a result I will not engage any further with you on Ian’s page and request that you reserve that tendency for your own pages where it well and truly belongs.

  35. simo says:

    There is a jobs argument regarding Kinder Morgan, a personal one to me. My dad (a strong believer in social justice) was the 3rd person hired when Trans Mountain was formed in the 50s. That pipeline was well built and has been shipping crude for a long time.
    I met an employee of KM a few years ago when they were doubling the line through Jasper Park and he told me that KM is not like the old company that my dad worked for and pay, benefits, safety etc had all been compromised. Like all in our economy it’s about short term benefits; mostly to shareholders.
    I know the media distorted the KM message but the liberals message of 5 conditions for approval was totally reasonable. The ndp should have been more forceful in pointing out how untrustworthy they are.
    The ndp came across as being anti business. Exactly what the liberal message was.

  36. Kevin Logan says:

    Hi Simo,

    The mainstream narrative on Kinder Morgan is completely divorced from reality.

    There is no “jobs argument.” I will grant you Simo, that there are jobs involved, but there is no valid argument to build the pipeline based on “jobs” or that project is in BC Best interest because of the proposal and the jobs involved.

    Even if you left out the risk, or any reasonable cost benefit analysis, and just looked at the “jobs” you would find that the influx of “new” temporary jobs are skilled jobs and would go to foreign workers for the most part. The permanent jobs number around 50.

    Dix did not flip flop or even really position based on polls as the weather vain ads depicted but rather that is precisely what Clark did. Her 5 conditions were all about playing to the polls as it is clear to anyone paying attention her 5 conditions are entirely rhetorical, not based in reality and were simply a sop to the majority of British Columbians who oppose this kind of development.

    See here once again:
    For a plain depiction of the facts.

    I do however totally agree with you that the campaign completely fumbled this issue. The pipeline positioning was the single most significant wedge issue in the election and the platform was ripped right out from under them, and the msm narrative ran em right over. A complete failure on behalf of the wizards doing “comms.”

    IT was kinda like how the “team” prepared the leader on the single largest attack they ran at him with, by feeding him the ” I was only 35″ line! Nice….. they might as well just showed him how to point the gun at his own head and pull the trigger.

    I mean they could have simply said ” It was 15 years ago” instead of “I was only 35”

    Which is reasonable, and even anecdotal if it is followed up with the fact that Dix is a lifetime politico and all they could dig up on him was an inconsequential minor digression from 15 years ago! Quite remarkable really! Not one thing from the whole time he was an actual elected politician. And if they wanted to talk about backdated paper work, then talk about the backdated Equivalency Agreement which gave up our jurisdiction and ability to review and assess and decide on Enbridge! Hows that for back dated paper work against the letter of the law?

    See here:

    and here:

    But no….. I was only 35, that will do just fine!

  37. John Twigg says:

    I’d like to say “you nailed it, Ian” because virtually everything you wrote was accurate and true and fair to the best of my knowledge, and thanks for the many insights I didn’t previously know like the advertising and polling debacles, and a kudo to Alex T too for his incisive comments above, but actually IMO it all was even worse than you have described. But I’m still working on my own thesis.

    But first, to blame the debacle on the Bakers Dozen rebels (as someone above did) is really revolting because it was the old-line Carole James cabal who installed Dix, because they thought they could control him, that he would be beholden to them. If any of the Bakers rebels had been given an inside seat in the campaign committee they could have blown some whistles before the party blew their own quick win. But they didn’t get any such seats until just a few days ago (on the new caucus exec).

    There’s so much more that needs to be said and done but it should outrage every member and even non-members, especially unionized and working-class families who as a result of the Dix cabal’s egos will now suffer serious declines in their qualities of life as the Liberals’ bogus drive to eliminate debt will slice into their incomes.

    Yes, some independents and outsiders need to conduct the review of the party’s disastrous campaign; the present cover-up is disgusting. So much money and effort wasted, so much damage to ensue, and now they try for yet another insiders’ in-house cover-up? Did they really believe they deserved to be in government with thinking and politicking like that??

    I don’t like to say it but I’m led to conclude that the election loss was a blessing in disguise.

  38. raven says:

    Ian, not sure how to communicate with Alex…this message comes up when I try to go to his blog:

    If you’re seeing this page, it means that there has been an issue regarding your DNS change to the new host. Please refer to e-mails sent to you from your hosting provider for more information about required DNS changes.

  39. simo says:

    Yes Ian nailed it; he usually does.
    I just watched the hockey game. Lot’s of ads; cute couples sipping iced drinks; shiny cars; sexy women and shaving equipment (apparently you have to shave more than your whiskers now, no wonder you need 4 blades); but the best of the night was happy families holding hands walking on the beach, hardhats, a big tanker heading out of Vancouver harbour safely escorted by a couple of tugs, the sunshine gleaming off it’s side reflecting the north shore mountains brought to us by the gov’t of Canadas’ action plan.
    It’s not just a few jobs; that’s who we are. The other side gets it. We are so screwed.

  40. Reid says:

    I think that the bottom line is that Adrian Dix and the NDP’s message did not connect with voters. Quite frankly, I do not beleive that the NDP is going anywhere with Dix as the leader. Accurate or not, he has now been “defined” by the Libs attack ads and his own performance. He simply has too much baggage for the NDP to ever be successful. The perception voters have of Dix only compounds the challenges the NDP has in developing a platform that connects with the electorate.

  41. raven says:

    Ian, today your blog, and others with similar political weight, have gained yet more significance: this morning the CBC has without warning, or consultation, changed it commenting format.

    What was a responsive tool for real dialogue, has become a both aquagmire of Facebooky options, and a place where comments go to languish, or to be “disabled” by the all-knowing moderator. It’s really disheartening, there was a good back, and forth between the left and right.

    Thank you for your blog.

  42. Brad Teeter says:

    Appreciate your courageous note Ian…and your generous, spirited contributions over the years.
    Agree with most of your points though i found the emphasis given polling out of order. Your last bullet point was particularly disturbing and i think speaks to the crux of the problem. You ask if there was an elections campaign committee. With your long years of party service coupled with the research that you’ve obviously already invested in trying to understand this disastrous campaign, I’m shocked that the question had to be asked. If indeed Dix ran the show and Topp allowed it, why wasn’t Topp fired. Certainly Dix didn’t hire Topp. Who did Topp report to? If you don’t know the answer to that question…i suspect it is a case of denial or neglect by you and others. If Topp wasn’t doing his job and it seems clear he wasn’t – since the ABC of campaign operations is that the candidate does NOT run the show – than why wasn’t he fired? It’s not a question of Topp’s big mistake. It’s a question of the party’s tolerance of incompetence. Someone or some committee was probably too busy looking at polling data to do their job.

    It seems to me the NDP has been driven by disastrous polling for years and i think the behaviour of Dix may have been a backlash against a party lost in a polling quagmire. I recall a prominent NDP politician telling me a few years back that the party didn’t emphasis health care in an election campaign because health care hadn’t polled well. How bizarre is that! The focus of the party has been wrenched from the ground roots to polling machinery that as the last election demonstrates is OFTEN hugely skewed.

    Another of your points references ethnic voters. Huh? BC’s population is weighted heavily on non-whites or “ethnic” voters. Again, polling wouldn’t be so damn important if the party was set up to embrace and include “ALL” of the population, not polling or focus groups sitting around a table trying to decide what’s “ethnically appropriate”. If NDP ads weren’t included in “ethnic” publications in this day and age….the party’s communications bosses are out to lunch.

  43. Brad Teeter says:

    …….one more polling thought…..The NDP’s preoccupation with polling in recent years is the reason many voters have lost sight of the difference between the NDP and the Liberals. I naively thought the NDP was about INFORMED choice not popularity driven strategies. Our beef with the Liberals historically focussed on that party’s habit of sniffing which way the wind was blowing before determining policy, but isn’t the NDP doing the very same thing???…YES!!!!…. And, why haven’t we learned by now that our folks are not motivated to work for weather vane rooted policies? I am certain an NDP lost lamb polled the word change and decided every blessed message had to include that frigging word. And, one more thought…..why on earth are the union leaders so pathetically feeble at election time… the teachers, who have been assaulted by the Liberals for years should have been screaming from the highest tree tops NOT to vote for the enemy….a friend of mine on election day who works for the BCTF lamely reminded people to vote on election day…..what’s up with that!?????????…corporations blasted pro-liberal …anti-NDP rhetoric non-stop…..

  44. raven says:

    Brad Teeter my memory has faded– teachers, in many years past waged the “Apple Campaign” to oust the Socreds, did they not?

    As a young mom, I volunteered day, and night, from home, and at the NDP head-quarters, on an election campaign during the transit strike (early 80’s?), we were desperate for volunteers, but not one driver volunteered in our local campaign.

    Union workers hold as much alligience to the NDP, as Catholics do to abstinence before marriage.

  45. G. Barry Stewart says:

    “Union workers hold as much alligience to the NDP, as Catholics do to abstinence before marriage.” Fun analogy, Raven!

    This election, there was a clearer definition between public service unions and private industry unions. We used to be brothers and sisters. Now, we seem to be second-cousins.

    Christy’s camp got the fear message out to the private industry workers that NDP = loss of jobs, so they likely stayed away from the polls or voted out of fear.

    As a teacher since the 1970s, I’ve never heard the BCTF say or advertise, “Vote NDP”… though the hint was clearly there. As well, many local executive were involved in campaigns. It’s easy to see that many teachers lean left, though I know of one who campaigned for the Conservatives in this election.

    From my own experience in the eastern Fraser Valley, many teachers — as concerned citizens and union members — were certainly helping the NDP campaign.

    I’m not sure how many were unmarried Catholics, though….

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