The president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association says his organization is running an ad critical of NDP leader Adrian Dix after the board and members felt they should “play a role” in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection.
“It’s a question of character, that’s what the ads are about,” said Philip Hochstein.
Last week, the ICBA started running an ad on a Chilliwack radio station slamming NDP Leader Adrian Dix for “forging a memo to cover for Premier Glen Clark in the casino kickback scandal” in 1999.
“If that’s what Dix did when he worked for the premier, imagine what he’ll do if he is the premier,” the ad states.
NDP MLA Shane Simpson called The Progress on Friday slamming the ICBA for a “personal attack on Adrian Dix based on something that happened 14 years ago.”
“It’s clear to us this is driven by the Liberals,” he said.
“We’re challenging the Liberals to deal with the issues, and tell us where the (new) jobs are and how they are going to protect agricultural land.”
The BC Liberal government won’t fall if the NDP win the Chilliwack-Hope byelection, but if this traditionally conservative riding goes to the NDP, it will send shock waves across the political landscape to the next general election in May, 2013.
Hochstein said Chilliwack-Hope voters “have to understand, if they vote for the NDP” they are clearing the way for Dix to move into the premier’s office.
Dix may have changed since the memo-forging incident, he agreed, “but not the essence of him.”
“He’s a hard-left politician,” Hochstein said, whose policies won’t bring about the economic growth that ICBA members need to thrive.
“All he ever talks about is income re-distribution from the private to the public sector,” he said. “That hurts (the ICBA’s) small, family-owned businesses.”
Gwen O’Mahony, the NDP’s candidate in Chilliwack-Hope, said she believes ICBA’s negative ad harms rather than helps the BC Liberal cause.
“This is the opposite direction people want to see politics heading,” she said. “I think it’s just a way of avoiding issues.”
“They’ve had 12 years in power and we’ve seen seven deficit budgets,” she said, the last one containing new rate increases “when people can least afford it, their bills are going up.”
Dix has apologized many times for writing the memo, the last time in April last year after winning the NDP leadership.
Dix had back-dated the memo to give Clark an alibi in the scandal involving a neighbour with a casino proposal who was also building a deck on the Premier’s home at the same time. Clark was eventually cleared, but Dix was fired from his job as chief of staff.