Timing was right for Dix, Macdonald says

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA will not pursue Leader’s position

MLA Norm Macdonald

MLA Norm Macdonald

Adrian Dix’s decision to resign as NDP Leaders was the right one, says Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald.

“It’s the right move,” Macdonald said. “It allows the party to reboot. He put the interests of the party and the caucus ahead of his own.”

Dix announced he would be stepping down on Thursday, though he will retain his seat and will stay in place until a new leader has been chosen.

“I’m pleased he’ll stay on until we have a new leader,” Macdonald said. “We felt he was effective in the Legislature in the June July session.”

But it is the right move, Macdonald believes.

“We need to be a party that can gain the confidence of the broader public.”

Macdonald says that the decision was entirely Dix’s own — he wasn’t pushed by caucus.

“There was none of that dynamic. We always had the sense that he would do what was right for us. The timing was right. It was better that he didn’t step down right away. Now, four months after the election people have a clear understanding of where we are, and are ready to step forward.”

Given the leadership ups and downs in recent NDP history, what is it going to take to find someone who will resonate not just with the NDP faithful, but with the public at large?

“The new leader will have to have core managerial competence and political skills with the ability to sell themselves and withstand an onslaught of political attacks. We do have some capable people who I expect to step forward.”

Macdonald, now in his third term, will not be one of them. He was emphatic that he will not run.

“It has to be someone with a strong provincial profile. There are certain realities you deal with coming out of rural B.C. Look at George Abbott in the provincial Liberal campaign.

“He was very strong, but he came out of the Shuswap and came third. You need a strong urban base. That is just a reality.”

During the previous leadership race which Dix won, Macdonald was a supporter of Mike Farnsworth from Port Coquitlam — a name that is already being brought up by pundits as a potential Dix replacement.

“I supported Mike Farnsworth,” Macdonald said. “I’m pretty sure he will run again and if he does, I will be supportive. But there are other capable people as well.”

Macdonald says he believes the party would like the leadership situation sorted out as quickly as possible but it was unrealistic to think it would be settled before Christmas.

“It’s possible before the Legislature sits again in February, but we’ve been through successful sessions with Adrian as leader so we can do it again. Thought there would be a freshness and energy with a new leader.”