B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix made a campaign stop in South Delta on Saturday.
Although the election campaign hadn't officially begun, Dix arrived at the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island for a tour, as well as to talk about some of his party's environmental values.
Nic Slater, the party's candidate in Delta South, as well as Delta North candidate Sylvia Bishop and Penticton candidate Dick Cannings, a world-renowned birder, flanked him.
"There's so many issues in this region that have to do with insuring what we see here is maintained. Habitat issues are important, not just for the natural environment, but the people of this region, and they consider environmental issues essential to their quality of life," Dix said.
"Part of what I try to do in politics is learn and try to understand before making decisions. We've had a tendency in the last couple of years to do the opposite. I try and reflect and Nic (Slater) is just an outstanding candidate in Delta South, representing these very issues, and I think he'd be an excellent MLA in the legislature."
Slater told the Optimist the official campaign wouldn't kick off until the following day, when the party's provincial council gathers, but having Dix come to Delta South was a great opportunity for the leader to talk about the environmental importance of the area.
Dix added, "He suggested we come out and look at this site and start to understand its central importance, and even economic importance. We learned today of people coming here from all over the world...this is a wonderful part of Metro Vancouver and the decisions we make here, the economic decisions we make and the development decisions we make, have to incorporate the value of not just this place, but the wonderful natural environment of Delta."
Last year, Slater and Delta South New Democrats put forward a resolution, which was endorsed by the party, taking a stand against a proposed free trade zone in Delta.
Asked for his position on port expansion in the area, Dix said he wants to learn about the potential impacts.
"That's part of what we all have to reflect on. Some of those decisions aren't provincial decisions directly, but the provincial government obviously has to play a role," he said.
Liberal Premier Christy Clark unveiled her party's candidates Saturday at a pre-campaign kickoff, which was another opportunity to slam Dix and the NDP.
Dix noted that although his full platform hasn't been unveiled, some parts of it have already been released, including a major focus on skills training.
Saying B.C.'s economy has been highly mismanaged, Dix noted the final version of his fiscal plan would be unveiled soon.
"Part of the problem with what they (Liberals) have been doing has been that they have been campaigning. The premier and the current government don't seem to want to govern, they just campaign, they campaign all the time," he said.
"The idea that they ran a negative ad against me 12 months ago for this election campaign shows that they're not focused on what we need to focus on, which is doing a good job governing this province."
In Delta South, Slater will be running against first-term incumbent Vicki Huntington, who said she'd be running again as an independent. Also in the race is Bruce McDonald, who will be running for the Liberals.
The Conservatives and Greens announced they wouldn't run a candidate in Delta South.
Meanwhile, in Delta North, where NDP MLA Guy Gentner won't be seeking re-election, Bishop will be running against Liberal candidate Scott Hamilton.
Bishop, McDonald and Hamilton are all Delta city councillors.
The election will be held May 14.