Provincial NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix toured the northwest last week to convince party members he is the man to defeat Christy Clark in the next election.
Jobs and the economy were main topics of conversation in Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Terrace.
One of the ways Dix says he would improve the Northern economy, if made premier, is to use tax policy to deter the shipping of unprocessed timber overseas.
The idea being that companies would then have incentive to set up new value-added manufacturing operation in the North instead of shipping the raw materials to be processed elsewhere.
Dix also says he would also raise corporate taxes back to 2008 levels. The provincial Liberals have argued that raising taxes on corporations would discourage further investment in the province, but Dix doesn’t see it that way.
He thinks funding social services can draw companies better than low taxes.
“BC is the best place on the west coast to invest. Why do you think that is? Healthcare. Were more competitive [than any of the US states along the west coast] because they don’t need to pay for health insurance, which is a big input cost. It’s not all about taxation,” says Dix.
Most of Dix’s policy positions do not vary all that much from those of competing leadership candidates, including his promise to abolish the HST, opposition to the Enbridge pipeline and Prosperity mine projects, and getting rid of the Foundational Skills Assessment in schools.
Dix does have some new positions not mentioned by other candidates such as the need for a poverty reduction plan and a new mining centre of excellence to encourage environmentally sound mining projects.
He said the party needs to firmly distinguish itself from the provincial Liberals to attract voters who might otherwise not have bothered to vote at all.
“You can’t score from centre ice, you need to set yourself apart from the Liberals with a clear implementable agenda. Then you’ve got everything you need to win, the government is discredited and people want to see an alternative.”