British Columbia

B.C. Votes 2017: Vancouver-Kingsway riding profile

A look at Vancouver-Kingsway, one of the 87 electoral districts in British Columbia.

No longer running to be premier, the NDP's Adrian Dix remains a favourite to win this East Vancouver seat

The boundaries of the electoral district of Vancouver-Kingsway (Elections BC)

In advance of the 2017 B.C. election, we'll be profiling all 87 electoral districts in the province. Here is Vancouver-Kingsway, one of 11 ridings in Vancouver — and one where the incumbent MLA will have more time to campaign in his riding this time around.

1. Adrian Dix will have a slightly different campaign this time around.

You could understand if the former NDP leader decided to try a new line of work after his party's surprising 2013 election loss and his subsequent resignation as leader.    

But Dix has spent the years since as a diligent critic for the party on the BC Hydro file, and chose to run for a fourth term in Vancouver-Kingsway.

"I love it. I love knocking on doors in the riding, being in the constituency. Often people are down on politics, and people who are in politics are down on politics. I think it's such an honour to represent people here," he said.

2. Dix credits the extreme diversity of the riding as something that keeps him motivated

Bordered by Grandview Highway to the north, Boundary Road to the east, East 45th and East 41st Avenue to the south, and Nanaimo Street, Kingsway, Victoria Drive and Commercial Drive to the west, around 70 per cent of Vancouver-Kingsway's residents have a mother tongue other than English (as of the 2011 Census), with the majority of immigrants coming from China, Vietnam or the Philippines.

"People are so thoughtful and respectful of the democratic process. They understand its importance in ways that someone like me, who grew up in Canada, take for granted and don't understand," said Dix.

"This remains, in spite of the cost of housing, an area where working people live, and where people come to Canada to settle, and so that character has remained." 

3. The riding has long been a bastion of NDP support. 

The riding is part of the old Vancouver East provincial district, which means that aside from 2001, when the NDP was relegated to just two seats, the area has elected an NDP candidate in every election since 1956 — including other former NDP leaders Glen Clark, Dave Barrett, and CCF leader Harold Winch. 

Like most MLAs in traditionally safe ridings, Dix is loathe to admit as such, however. 

"People always say 'Oh, this is a Liberal seat, and this is an NDP seat,' but I don't think that's the case. I think there's less of that as time gets on. People are less loyal to political parties, and I think that's a good thing." 

4. The NDP believes the recent battles over school closures will help their cause.

Historically, an NDP candidate hasn't needed much help to win Vancouver-Kingsway — but three of the 12 Vancouver schools that were under threat of closure in 2016 were in Dix's riding, including Gladstone, the only secondary school on the list. 

"Our area unfortunately has been the target of possible cuts and closures, and people have responded as you would expect: by passionately supporting their schools," said Dix, who vocally supported teachers and parents at several protests last year before the closure process was put on hold.

"​If our city is going to be a great city, now in the future, there has to be children here, has to be schools here ... There's a huge amount of effort in Gladstone and Windermere [secondary schools], a huge effort to celebrate those schools and make them extraordinary places of learning."  

5. Where does the NDP do well? 

Joyce Street: from Kingsway to East 29th Avenue, the NDP regularly gets around 70 per cent of the vote from nearby polling stations. The polling station centred around Still Creek Housing Co-operative gave the NDP 86 per cent of its vote in 2013, and 87 per cent in 2009.

6. What about the Liberals? 

There are two areas where the party does well: the areas of the riding south of Kingsway — particularly at its southwest corner of East 41st Avenue and Nanaimo Street — and the houses around Rupert Street north of East 29th Avenue. 

7. Dix is excited about campaigning a little closer to home this election — even though his personal stakes are considerably lower. 

Dix is the favourite against B.C. Liberal candidate, former federal Conservative candidate Trang Nguyen and Green Party candidate Ellisa Calder, an IT consultant,  but says he's still motivated to knock on as many doors as possible.

"There's a relatively high turnover from election to election. There's obviously people who have lived here all their lives, but here's always new populations coming into the riding, forcing you to make your case to new people," he said.

"I think the election campaign process is really good, because it prepares you to do the job of representation. People talk about party leaders, and cabinet ministers, and critics, but just being an MLA is a fantastic thing to do."      

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