MacPhail endorses Dix for NDP leader

MLA Adrian Dix introduces former finance and health minister Joy MacPhail in Vancouver Thursday.

Saying he has the same “focused and feisty dedication” she brought to politics, former B.C. finance and health minister Joy MacPhail has endorsed Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix to lead the NDP.

MacPhail said Dix’s work as children and families and then health critic since 2005 has been “head and shoulders” above other MLAs. She said Dix has demonstrated the energy that she needed when the party was reduced two two seats by the 2001 landslide victory of Premier Gordon Campbell.

“He and Carole James were a very effective team,” MacPhail said. “I miss Carole James terribly, but with the advent of Adrian’s leadership I am comforted.”

Dix stressed his support from health care workers, whose union contracts were an early target of the Campbell government.

“When I talked to people in the Okanagan this week, especially health care workers reminded me of the extraordinary courage and determination Joy showed on their behalf as leader of the opposition in B.C., as she brought the NDP back from maybe our lowest moment in history and really put us back on the map politically,” Dix said.

MacPhail said she isn’t concerned about complaints from rival candidates Mike Farnworth and Harry Lali about thousands of new party memberships and cash donations brought in at the deadline for the April 17 leadership vote.

After MacPhail lost the party leadership to Ujjal Dosanjh in 2000, the party put in rigorous rules that will verify every membership, she said.

MacPhail quit as B.C.’s finance minister in 1999 because she didn’t agree with then-premier Glen Clark’s plan to spend his way out of an economic slump.

Dix was Clark’s chief of staff at that time, and despite their policy disagreements he always treated her respectfully, MacPhail said.

She added that history has shown that she was wrong about the Clark government’s approach, which led to an economic recovery that benefited Campbell’s government in the following years.

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