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BC Election 2013: As campaign heats up, NDP shows its cards

Change is likely coming to the BC electoral scene in May, but massive debt accrued under the Liberals will make the transition slow and cautious, one small NDP step at a time.

Photo sourced from NDP Leader Adrian Dix Facebook page

After almost a dozen years in political purgatory but now consistently leading in public opinion polls, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is fine-tuning its official platform in the countdown to the BC election scheduled for May 14.

While election platforms often include overly-dramatic promises that are often later found out to be non-attainable if not patently ridiculous, the NDP — wary from history painting them as fiscally inappropriate Socialists — may deliberately be taking a different approach with its election promises, some of which are already beginning to trickle out.

Until its platform is released, looking at the party’s website provides valuable clues as to some of what the estimated 4.5 million BC residents can expect from an NDP government.

And the biggest clue of all is right before your eyes with a homepage photograph of NDP Leader Adrian Dix accompanied by the quote: “Not just change, but change for the better. One practical step at a time.”

No "grand visions" in NDP strategy allows Liberals to define them

Not exactly the most thrilling or inspirational message, but perhaps the party is signalling voters that, unlike some former highly criticized NDP governments, it will set out to do what it has promised in a prudent methodical manner.

After more than 11 long years of increasingly tired and arrogant Liberal governments, with record debt beginning to strangle the province’s ability to operate effectively, maybe slow, thoughtful incremental change is the way to go as opposed to those unbelievably expensive and unsustainable megaprojects of yesteryear.

And yet, as Hamish Telford, head of the philosophy and political science department at the University of the Fraser Valley, points out, voters going into polling booths often want to think their party has a grand vision for the future beyond merely making modest changes.

“The promises [the NDP] have announced to date, although certainly worthy, are quite small scale,” Telford said in an interview. “Election campaigns are really the time for big visions and that’s what we need to see.”

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