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NDP Leader Promises His Party will Complete Major Expansion of Penticton Regional Hospital if Elected
BY LYONEL DOHERTY
Special to the Times
NDP leader Adrian Dix has some advice for undecided voters in Oliver and Osoyoos: If you want to wake up to another four years of Liberal mismanagement, you know who to vote for.
But if you want change, look no further than Boundary-Similkameen candidate Sam Hancheroff.
Dix made these comments to the Oliver Chronicle during his stop at Stoneboat Vineyards in Oliver last Friday.
Dix said it feels great to be leading the polls, despite the B.C. Liberals gaining ground.
“I think people in B.C. believe it’s time for change,” said Dix.
Dix said the NDP are running a positive campaign, while the Liberals are relying on personal attacks in order to get re-elected.
“I haven’t made personal attacks. Our strategy is to stay positive and focus on what matters to people.”
Dix said it’s time the Liberals served as the official opposition after what he called 12 unproductive years of having the opportunity to govern this province.
Dix admitted the party will inherit a bad financial situation if they form the government next week, with Hancheroff pointing to the Liberals’ $11 billion debt in two years.
Contrary to what many pundits have been saying over the past several weeks, all of the NDP campaign promises have been “costed out” and are affordable and will help rejuvenate the province’s struggling economy, said Dix.
Hancheroff said the NDP’s plan is to continue to enhance the agricultural industry with its Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC initiatives.
He said the party wants to see hospitals and other health care facilities buy fruits and vegetables grown in this province.
“We want to work with farmers to promote their products,” Hancheroff said.
The candidate talked about the forest industry, saying every log that is milled in B.C. creates jobs. The Liberals are sending logs out of the province, resulting in jobs leaving the province, he added.
“I can’t believe that … that’s unconscionable,” he said.
Dix responded to Liberal leader Christy Clark’s “misleading” statements about the NDP not willing to follow through with expansion plans for Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH).
Dix said he fully supports health care, noting he was the NDP’s health critic before he became leader. He acknowledged that PRH clearly needs a major upgrade, noting it has been on the priority list for years, but the Liberals never delivered.
“The premier came (to PRH) with TV cameras. I came and met with the people. Yes, we will build it.”
Dix also said the NDP will follow through with the correctional centre slated for Oliver on Osoyoos Indian Band land.
Dix was asked what the NDP will do for citizens burdened by FortisBC rate hikes. The leader said he will ask the B.C. Utilities Commission to review the two-tier rate structure.
Dix said the NDP wants to give customers a chance to make their case in order to show how the new rate structure isn’t working for them.
“People who can’t afford it could get special consideration.”
Until then, Dix reiterated that voters have to decide if it’s time for political change in B.C., pointing to Hancheroff and candidate Richard Cannings in Penticton as viable candidates.