Local New Democrats won’t speculate on what party leader Adrian Dix will reveal next week about his political future, but the consensus is a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.
“If he does step down, it’ll give a chance for potential leadership candidates to come forward,” Tom Friedman, the party’s candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson said Tuesday.
“We need to have a leader in place, certainly for the spring sitting of the legislature.”
NDP communication director Tim Pearson said a time, date or location for the Dix announcement has not been set, but it will occur sometime next week.
Dix left the B.C. legislature in July saying he would be taking time to reflect on his political future. If Dix steps down, Friedman said at the very least the party needs an interim leader in place soon.
“Someone who can really hold the government to account. We need that kind of leadership,” he said. “I’m really glad a decision will be made one way or the other.”
Friedman’s colleague in Kamloops-North Thompson, Kathy Kendall, said the party needs to move forward, and she’s glad Dix will soon provide some direction.
“Let’s find out, one way or the other,” she said.
Until Tuesday, there has been little information coming forward from Dix, but others within the NDP have been publicly calling for him to signal he was preparing to step down.
Earlier this week, a group of New Democrats calling themselves Forward B.C. NDP announced they were seeking to modernize and rebuild the party and aiming to influence the selection of party delegates voting at the NDP’s Vancouver convention in November.
The convention will see the election of a new party executive and could prompt a party leadership race.
Friedman and Kendall say the party needs to evolve if it wants to stay relevant. Friedman said Forward B.C. NDP has pledged to listen to rural voters, and that’s important for Kamloops.
Kendall said May’s provincial election showed the party needs to change.
“Obviously we need a new look. The same old, same old isn’t resonating with voters,” she said.
The B.C. New Democrats have been reeling since last May’s devastating election loss where they entered the race with an almost 20-point lead but lost to Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals.
Kamloops political scientist Ray Pillar said the loss did the NDP psychological damage.
“It was more than just losing an election, they totally lost belief in themselves,” he said, adding it will take the party a long time to recover.