Adrian Dix to stay on as BC NDP leader, promises review of failed campaign

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NDP leader Adrian Dix said Wednesday he will stay on as leader at least while the party undertakes a comprehensive review of its failure to win the May 14 provincial election.

A contrite Dix told reporters he takes “full responsibility” for the NDP’s disastrous campaign and that he will work with the party to hold Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals to their expansive promises.

“We didn’t win and disappointment doesn’t begin to describe how that feels. As the leader of the BC NDP I take full responsibility for this defeat,” Dix said. “This was an impossibly disappointing result.”

In his first press conference since his party lost what many believed was their election to win, Dix said he sees no reason to resign now as leader, especially since the party already “has mechanisms” in its constitution to deal with shedding a leader.

Under the NDP’s constitution, the party leader faces a mandatory leadership review at every annual convention. The next one is in November.

But NDP strategist and former MLA David Schreck said there is no chance that Dix will lead the party into 2017 election. At best he may be able to stay as interim leader until 2016 when the party should choose a new leader who has both style and substance to take on the Liberals.

“If you look at the history of the NDP, it doesn’t tolerate people who blow a 20-point lead. Leaders in the NDP are not given a second chance,” he said.

“Adrian’s a political realist. The only ball in the air is whether he will be the interim leader until the 2016 replacement, or whether somebody else will be.”

Asked repeatedly whether he should step down now, Dix told reporters he is “a servant of both the party and the caucus” and will take direction from them during and after the review.

“I can assure you this review will spare nothing and no one, least of all me. This will not be a simple internal review.”

Clark’s Liberals won 50 seats of the Legislature’s 85 seats; the NDP 33, the Green party of B.C. one and independent Vicki Huntington one.

Dix blamed the NDP’s election loss on three mistakes: not criticizing the Liberals’ campaign hard enough, not explaining enough how the NDP’s platform was a positive change for the future, and his unexpected opposition of the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal. But he also defended his decision to run a generally positive campaign, even as the Liberals were gaining traction with a negative one.

“Clearly our campaign was not good enough. We did not do a good enough job prosecuting the case against the government .