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Liberals vote-splitting talk disrespects voters, says NDP's Dix

While British Columbia Liberals reacted to a new poll by warning against vote splitting, New Democratic Party Leader Adrian Dix said that message is disrespectful to voters.

"What this poll in particular shows very clearly is if the right of centre vote splits, the NDP gets in the back door," said John Les, the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack. "Vote splitting doesn't work for a free enterprise government in British Columbia."

The Angus Reid Public Opinion poll put support for the NDP at 40 percent, the Liberals at 31 percent, the Conservatives at 18 percent and the BC Greens at eight percent. Since March the Liberals had dropped by 12 percent while the Conservatives gained by 13 percent.

The poll, which had a plus or minus 3.5 percent margin of error, showed strength for the Conservatives in the southern interior and the north of the province.

Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm, a Liberal, stressed his Reform Party and conservative roots before saying he's not worried about the Conservative Party. "The big thing folks have to know is basically a vote for the Conservative Party is a vote for the NDP party, so I'll be pushing that back in a very substantial way when the time comes."

NDP Leader Dix said 70 percent of British Columbians are rejecting the Liberal government. "It's really disrespectful" for Liberals to blame vote splitting for their losses, he said. "My advice to them is stop talking about vote splitting and do better."

In the last two provincial elections the Greens and the NDP have shared 50 percent of the vote, but there was little outcry about vote splitting, he said. "I find the whole reaction treating politics as a game is wrong," he said. "I'm competing with [Conservative Leader] John Cummins for votes. I'm competing with the Green Party. I'm competing with everybody."

Polls show dropping Liberal support for a reason, he said. "What you're seeing is a desire in the electorate for change," he said. "My job is to unite the anti-government vote to ensure they're defeated."

The next election is scheduled for May, 2013.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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