Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leaders Hit Road for Launch of Second Half of B.C. Election Race

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leaders Hit Road for Launch of Second Half of B.C. Election Race

Article excerpt

Clark buoyant, Dix quips at morning rallies

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New Democrat leader Adrian Dix has thrown a bone to the province's mayors, saying if elected premier, he would establishing a standalone ministry for local government.

While addressing the mayors caucus in Prince George about his platform Tuesday, Dix fielded questions from the municipal leaders about things like infrastructure funding, engagement with small and rural communities, and the downloading of responsibilities to municipalities.

Dix and Clark hit the road Tuesday, taking their election campaigns out of the Lower Mainland and into the province's Interior as the mid-point of the campaign passed.

Dix was the only provincial leader to accept the invitation to attend the mayors caucus meeting.

Dix said a separate ministry for municipal affairs would allow the government to work more closely with local governments, prompting applause from the 70 mayors around the room.

However, the NDP leader remains uncommitted to matching federal funding for infrastructure projects.

"It's absolutely critical that we have federal, provincial and local governments contributing on infrastructure projects and there are a lot of those behind schedule," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "We need the province to step up."

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts also said Dix's promise of using existing carbon tax revenue to fund transit doesn't go far enough to meet regional needs.

Clark spent the day in Vancouver, Cranbrook and Kimberley to drive home her theme that a Dix New Democrat government means out-of-control spending, endless deficits and more taxes.

She toured a major metal fabrication shop in Cranbrook that employs between 60 and 100 workers. Fab-Rite Services Ltd., builds metal structures for the forest, mining and oil and gas industries.

At one point in the factory tour she spoke with machinist Adrian Plant, who explained how he operates a metal press machine. …

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