NDP Leader Adrian Dix speaks with reporters during a press conference Wednesday at the Mekong Restaurant.
The solution to unemployment is plowing more money into training high-skilled workers, says Adrian Dix.
If his party is elected in May, the NDP leader plans to invest more in post-secondary education so more people are able to fill the high-tech jobs of the future. Technological advances could bring manufacturing jobs back to B.C. because workers will need skills that low-wage countries don't have.
"Most manufacturers today will tell you they would hire people if they had skilled workers," Dix said Wednesday in Kelowna. "You need fewer workers, but highly skilled workers."
Dix supports the Liberals in their pursuit of liquefied natural gas as a source of future prosperity in the province. As a government, the NDP would commit to upgrading natural gas. However, he's cautious about going all in and wonders how to compensate for the extra pollution the factories would generate.
"This will depend in part on what we do here and in part on what happens internationally with investors in the market. So it's not just our choice," he said at the Mekong Restaurant.
"We have legally binding emission targets, passed by the Liberal government. You have to address the environmental issue to enable economic development in this case. . . . It requires real action."
Dix is less committed on the prospect of a national park for the South Okanagan. He admitted he's on the fence in his party's support for the renewed proposal.
"The idea has a lot of appeal because it brings investment here. There's concern," he said. "I'm not making a commitment today, but we're going to go and meet with people in the region in advance of the election to hear on that issue."
Surrounding Dix were NDP candidates Mark Olsen from Vernon-Monashee, Richard Cannings in Penticton, Carole Gordon from Kelowna-Westside and Mike Nuyens in Kelowna-Lake Country. Daylene Van Ryswyk is running for the nomination in Kelowna-Mission.
The leader has visited the Okanagan 30 times since he was chosen two years ago. Dix is confident people in the Valley want a change in government.
"People in the last couple of elections haven't seen us as competitive here, even though we've had very strong candidates," he said.
"This time, they're going to view this election as competitive. . . . We're intending to win every seat."
- On the Liberals' recent budget:
"There was a claim of a balanced budget, but it's based on accounting tricks. . . . They don't explain how cuts will happen and in many cases they're clearly not realistic."
- On the Liberal plan to sell $800 million worth of government assets, such as land holdings:
"If your budget strategy is to sell assets in one year, it's pretty shortsighted. . . . You can't sell them the following year."
- On investing more in buy-local initiatives and procurement contracts:
"We have to do a better job, health authorities in particular, in buying local. There's a huge demand in the community to buy local. . . . The idea that government would buy food from elsewhere in maybe the greatest apple-growing region in the world is the wrong approach."