I strongly but respectfully disagree with Mike Harcourt.
He made the statement in endorsing BC NDP leadership candidate Mike Farnworth on Monday.
The fact is, the BC NDP has been moving to the centre - or the middle of the road - since Ujjal Dosanjh took over the party leadership in 2000, followed by Carole James in 2003.
And while James made every effort to set up the party to win with a centrist position, it didn't work in 2005 or 2009.
What did happen in 2009 is that the BC NDP actually lost 40,000 real votes compared to its results in 2005.
That means NDP voters stayed home - uninspired by the contest despite all the damage that Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals had done to BC - from Independent Power Producers to the Basi-Virk politicial corruption case to the worst child poverty rate in Canada for years.
That' why I'm support Adrian Dix for leader in this contest - Adrian wants to mobilize traditional NDP voters and reach out to the 1.4 million voters who stayed home on election day, allowing Campbell to win his third straight victory.
When asked if the centrist approach might lead to the NDP base staying home, Mike's comment was telling:
“They won’t. They have a real interest in this election,” Harcourt told reporters.
Well they didn't before, despite Campbell's longstanding lack of personal approval by voters and despite all he had done.
And now the BC Liberal Party is trying to put a new face - Christy Clark's - on a tired and old government.
Mike Harcourt's views are worthy of a debate.
One might just as easily say "Go right and you're right out of it" or "Stay in the middle and you get hit by both sides" but they don't mean anything.
And is it "left" to demand that banks and financial institutions pay a minimum corporate tax, as Adrian Dix is proposing? And use the money to fund post-secondary education access? Or is it common sense and something voters would support?
Former NDP House Leader Joy MacPhail - a Harcourt government minister as well - is supporting Dix in this contest and makes similar points about getting traditional NDP voters and new ones back on board.
“Adrian’s mastery of the issues and ability to effect positive change is on full display in and out of the legislature, where he is the most effective critic for the official opposition," MacPhail said.
"His skill in mobilizing activists and citizens around issues also reflects his effective leadership style. He is taking a strong stand on jobs and the economy, the environment, health care and education, and that is what the NDP needs and that is what BC needs."
“Adrian’s dedication to grow the New Democratic movement is recognized throughout BC. NDP members across the province have sought out his help and he has been there for them time and time again. Adrian gets results – and he will lead our party to victory in the next election,” MacPhail concluded.
I respect Mike Harcourt - I served on the BC NDP Executive during most of his term in office - and also respect Mike Farnworth, as well as John Horgan. I've worked with all of them in the past and they are talented people.
But moving further to the middle of the road is not the way to win back NDP voters - as Adrian Dix has said - the NDP needs to give people something to vote for, not just against.
His detailed and costed program will do exactly that and its why I am pleased to be supporting him in this leadership contest.