Dix, Clark full of confidence as B.C. election day approaches
Rebekah Funk and Dene Moore, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:42PM PDT
The leaders of British Columbia's two main political parties both projected confidence Sunday, and predicted victory when provincial voters go to the polls on Tuesday.
New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix enjoyed the largest rally of the four-week election campaign, with close to a thousand supporters gathered at Vancouver Film Studios.
They chanted and waved orange party placards and clutched orange carnations in honour of Mother's Day.
Though Dix arrived an hour late, he didn't disappoint. The crowd erupted into raucous applause as the orange NDP campaign bus slowly drove into the massive studio.
In a 30-minute speech, Dix denounced what he called an "attack, smear, rinse, repeat" Liberal campaign.
"People in B.C. want change," Dix said. "They want it so bad they can taste it."
He repeated election promises involving everything from the film and television industry and skills training, to public education, forestry and mining.
"It's a modest platform but it's focused on the changes we need to take on now," Dix said. "We've got to bring change to the province. We have hope in the province."
He appeared convinced he'll be the province's next premier.
"I don't think we need a weather vane to tell which way the wind is blowing," Dix said, in reference to a Liberal attack ad that shows his head spinning on a weather vane, claiming he has switched his stance on several issues.
Dix said the estimated 400,000 people who have already voted at advance polling stations indicates that British Columbians want to see change.
At about the same time, Clark was attending an afternoon brunch organized by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Croatian Roman Catholic Parish in suburban Richmond. She marked Mother's Day with her son and family members Sunday morning.
An awkward moment of what sounded like a mixture of boos and cheers erupted when Clark arrived, but the Liberal leader received best wishes from the parish priest for another term in office.
She told reporters she thinks that can happen.
"I am confident that we can win the election," she said.
"We need to keep working, and we need to keep talking to people about the important issues at stake here, and we need to make sure that everybody in the province who can vote, gets out and casts their ballot."
Clark said she will be visiting as many ridings as possible on Monday, the last full day of campaigning before election day.
"My goal is to just keep talking about what I've been saying throughout the campaign, which is the economy really matters. We have to make sure we're growing the economy, not growing government, as Adrian Dix would propose."
All parties are now focused on getting voters to the polls in a race that has become less predictable as voting day approaches.
"I think people look at elections and they say, 'ah, it doesn't matter who you vote for. They're all the same.' That is not true in this election," Clark said. "We could not be more different in our vision for the future."
The Liberal leader, who has relentlessly painted a picture of a New Democrat government with big spending plans and no way to pay for it, said she believes many voters only make their decision in the days before the election.
"The momentum has been really good," she said of her campaign.
On Vancouver Island, B.C. Green Leader Jane Sterk blasted Dix and New Democrats for a series of automated calls and campaign speeches warning voters about splitting the vote to the benefit of the incumbent Liberals.
It's an indication that the New Democrats are becoming increasingly afraid of the Green party, Sterk said in a statement.
"The NDP know that their greatest threat on southern Vancouver Island is not the Liberals, it's the Greens," she said.
"The NDP are telling voters not to 'split the vote' because they know that, compared to the Green candidates, they have not done enough to earn the vote."
B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins attended a Mother's Day brunch in Langley.
On Monday, the last full day of campaigning, Liberal Leader Christy Clark has 10 events planned that will take her to southern Vancouver Island and back to her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey for an evening rally.
New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix will criss-cross the province in a 24-hour blitz of 14 communities, covering more than 1,700 kilometres.