Clark says Dix ‘afraid’

During a campaign stop in Parksville, premier says NDP leader doesn't want public to understand philosophical differences between parties

B.C. Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell speaks with a local resident this week during Premier Christy Clark's campaign stop in Parksville.

Premier Christy Clark says Adrian Dix won’t agree to a live, televised debate because the NDP leader does not want the people of B.C to see the clear philosophical differences in governing styles the parties offer.

Clark made that claim during an hour-long stop in Parksville on Tuesday, with more than 100 enthusiastic supporters packed into the campaign offices of local B.C. Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell.

“They (the NDP) believe they can be better parents than you,” Clark said. “They believe they can spend your money better than you. You know what I think? I believe in you. I believe that you can spend that money better than I can. I believe that you can make better decisions for your children than I can.”

“And that is the philosophical difference in our two parties. So, I’ve been asking myself why is it that Adrian Dix is afraid to debate me? I think about some those philosophical differences between us and I realize perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about some of those things.”

Clark spoke with The NEWS after her speech and after she made her way around the room shaking hands and sharing hugs with supporters.

Clark said she did not bring with her any promises related to lower rates on B.C. Ferries to help tourists get to Parksville Qualicum Beach this summer.

“The first thing we have do is tackle B.C. Ferries’ debt,” she said. “You can’t keep fares low and you can’t keep routes running if the company is paying tens of millions of dollars every year in interests costs on its debt. It’s going to take a long-term solution.”

Clark was also asked why Parksville Qualicum Beach was not part of the B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative, a provincial fund that doles out millions of dollars a year to 13 select resort communities to help with infrastructure costs.

“I would be happy to sit down and talk to them about that,” she said. “This community has all the characteristics of any great resort around the world.”

In her remarks to the crowd, which included a former mayor, former and current MLAs and former chair of the University of B.C.’s board of governors Brad Bennett (son of Premier Bill Bennett and grandson of Premier W.A.C Bennett), Clark heaped praise on the current candidates in the room, Stilwell and Alberni-Pacific Rim’s Darren DeLuca.

“If there is anyone in British Columbia who represents perseverance, determination, a willingness to overcome any obstacle, an ability to dream big despite all the things people tell you are impossible — it is Michelle Stilwell,” said Clark. “You have nominated a candidate in this riding who is going to make everyone in this province proud. She has decided she wants to step up and make a difference. Thank goodness British Columbia has a woman like Michelle Stilwell standing with us.”

The provincial election is May 14.