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Dix campaigning on improving economy, reducing inequality

B.C. NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix, speaking to party faithful in North Vancouver today, said he's campaigning on a platform of improving the provincial economy and reducing the gap between the richest and the poorest.

Dix argued that "you have to go all the way back to Duff Pattullo in the Depression" to find a provincial government as poor as today's Liberals at sustaining strong economic growth. He said the NDP had inherited a serious deficit from the Bennett-Vander Zalm Socreds, but had maintained 3 percent growth over the decade of the 1990s, with two balanced budgets at the end.

He argued that the way to success was not to move closer to the Liberals, but to give hundreds of thousands of non-voters a reason to turn out and support the NDP.

He criticized the export of raw logs, saying more processing should be done here in B.C.

Dix also called for a return to 2008-level corporate taxes. He claimed that a 12 percent tax rate on the banks would generate $100 million that he would use to provide interest-free loans to post-secondary students. And he said the carbon tax should help to pay for transit and to support rural communities.

He said the income gap between the richest 20 percent in B.C. and the poorest 20 percent is the widest in the country, and warned that inequality is correlated with a host of social problems. Dix cited the recent book The Spirit Level, which describes those problems in detail.

Speaking about B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Dix argued that she is environmentally to the right of the federal Conservatives. He reminded his listeners that she had recently supported the Prosperity Mine, and that Prime Minister Harper "told her to pound sand."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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