|57 weeks ago I read a theory that going for 50 coffees with people you’ve never met is the entrepreneur’s equivalent to the theory that doing anything for 10,000 hours will make you an expert on it. While I got the idea, 50 coffees was far easier than practicing something for ten years, so after completing that challenge I decided to make a major commitment and publish 500 over the next few years. In this series I introduce you to interesting Vancouverites, many of whom I had never met before. It’s an exercise in networking for myself and for V.I.A. while also being a platform through which I to introduce you to some people who are doing really cool stuff in the city you live in.
Meet Adrian Dix. Leader of the BC NDP party, the MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway since 2005 and possibly British Columbia’s next premier. Right off the bat I’d like to let you know that I’m going to be voting for the NDP in the provincial election on May 14, 2013 (remember THIS coffee where I admitted that I have a luxury that journalists don’t?) and I’d also like to let you know we won’t be doing too much editorial around the election. We’ll likely poll the 80-or-so folks on our editorial and advisory boards and let you know where their biases lie but we won’t be hammering out messaging on who we think you should vote for. In a nutshell, the reason why I’m voting for Adrian’s party is because I’m excited about the positive change his leadership will bring to our province. In case you couldn’t tell by this web site that I founded 5 years ago TO THE DAY, I’m all about positivity and positive change.
Adrian and I met at Bamboo Cafe right off of Joyce Station in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood and I quickly found out (after asking why he didn’t take sugar in his coffee) that he has Type 1 Diabetes and that he has to inject insulin 4 times a day. I was made aware of his disease and was also exposed to the fact that it makes him look at the city and the world differently; as a public figure he often needs to find private places to inject the stuff that keeps him alive, and I don’t imagine that’s easy. I asked him if he found himself in his car more because of it (because I know I would be), but most days, even when taking a float plane to Victoria, he’s on transit. He lives close to the Skytrain, his MLA office and the NDP office downtown are also both near Skytrain stations. The day we met for coffee he had flown in to YVR from some meetings in Ottawa, took the Canada Line to his constituency office, then came out on the Skytrain to his neighbourhood to meet me.
We talked about things that he feels make Vancouver awesome and one thing he mentioned is that he’s lived here almost his entire life, and it’s awesome because it’s home. Another thing is its diversity and its people, and the way that diversity has actually helped the economy. I’ve been to one of Adrian’s speeches (45 minutes, with no notes) and can say without a doubt that he’s on another level when it comes to economics and understanding how and why things work (as in, he’s leagues smarter than I am). He broke down the diversity of the province back to the second World War and how after we opened up our immigration it had an immensely positive impact on the economy. I changed the subject to books.
I’m currently reading Rod Mickleburgh and Geoff Meggs’ book, The Art of the Impossible, which is all about the time that NDP leader Dave Barrett spent in office from 1972-1975, so I asked how his style of leadership would differ from Dave’s, should he be elected premier. He told me times have changed and their styles are obviously much different because of that, and also that he’ll be more focused in terms of the agenda and things to accomplish, as opposed to tackling 96 or so sweeping changes for the province in a short time (including the creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve). But like Dave Barrett, he’s passionate about reducing inequality. That’s really what’s at the centre of what he believes and what he’d like to achieve as premier.
The last thing I asked was what he plans to do about the Northern Gateway pipeline, which is something that we haven’t shone much light on for one very obvious reason: we haven’t found any awesomeness in it. He’s opposed to the pipeline because he doesn’t feel it’s in BC’s economic or environmental interest (HERE is a clip of him talking more about why), and if he’s elected premier he’s promising to pull out of the federal joint review panel and conduct an environmental assessment here in our province.
You can learn all about Adrian and the campaign that the BC NDP is running on their web site at BCNDP.ca. Follow the election via VOTE COMPASS who are partnering with CBC and look to V.I.A. for perhaps a couple more stories leading up. Oh and, of course, don’t forget to vote in May!
And stay tuned for 443 more Coffees!