VICTORIA – Adrian Dix's last day as B.C. NDP leader saw him lead the charge against B.C. Liberal forest policy in question period, outline his legacy from three years as opposition leader, and then hand the leadership over to his successor John Horgan.
The party's deadline for leadership candidates to challenge Horgan arrived at 5 p.m. Thursday, and the Juan de Fuca MLA will make his leadership debut in the legislature Monday after a weekend party event.
After a standing ovation from the NDP caucus Thursday, Dix led off question period by accusing the B.C. Liberal government of "rushing to give huge private corporations de facto ownership over publicly owned land" with its proposed shift to area-based forest tenures.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Dix said he is proud that he moved the government toward an emphasis on skills training, with changes to apprenticeships and post-secondary laid out by B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers this week.
"And while I'm not happy with the approach the government's taken, clearly that issue is now on the top of the public agenda and we forced it," Dix said.
In his pre-election budget last year, Finance Minister Mike de Jong raised corporate income tax one point to 11 per cent, half as much as Dix had proposed, and raised personal income tax for those earning more than $150,000 by 2.1 per cent for two years.
Dix said it's frustrating not to be in government to deal with issues he championed, such as worker safety after a series of fatal incidents involving farm and sawmill workers.
Horgan is acclaimed as NDP leader after Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth dropped out of the leadership contest and endorsed him April 8.