Federal New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair joined the British Columbia election campaign Friday night, saying a provincial NDP victory on May 14 will serve as a warm up for a federal NDP win in 2015.
Mulcair told a cheering crowd of about 350 people from the NDP stronghold ridings in Surrey that B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix is running a campaign that is being closely watched by federal New Democrats.
"We're going to work together because all the lessons learned here in British Columbia are going to translate into a victory for the first national NDP government in history in 2015," he said.
Mulcair introduced Dix as B.C.'s next premier.
"Adrian Dix is leading a team of women and men who are going to provide quality public administration in the public interest," said Mulcair.
Dix, who has been leading the B.C. New Democrats for the past two years, is considered the frontrunner, ahead of B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term for the Liberals after taking over the party leadership in March 2011.
Dix began the campaign by making daily social policy announcements that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
He said most of the money for his initiatives would come from raising taxes on corporations, banks and high-income earners.
Dix's programs include offering post-secondary students non-refundable grants, reducing child-care fees and increasing welfare rates and offering family bonuses.
Dix told the Surrey supporters an NDP election victory would allow his government to make changes that would help lift B.C. children and families out of poverty.
"This election campaign is not about me becoming premier, not about our MLAs winning," he said. "It's about the change we want to bring."
Clark reaches out in Richmond
Clark was also in the Metro Vancouver region, campaigning in Richmond, where she addressed the Chinese community with a sentence in Cantonese that said a Liberal government equals lower taxes.
She said she'd like to see a school of traditional Chinese medicine built locally.
Clark spent much of the week in northern B.C. where she said plans to develop the natural gas industry, which includes exporting liquefied natural gas, were spurring multi-billion investments in B.C.'s north.
She said a Liberal government would negotiate a rural dividend plan that would see communities along the paths of new projects benefit directly.
Clark said she would work out the details with rural leaders, and that money would come from the Prosperity Fund announced in her throne speech three months ago.
Both Clark and Dix will be in Surrey Saturday attending events associated with the annual Vaisakhi parade.