If voters have become accustomed to the brutality of provincial politics in B.C., they may be in for a bit of a surprise when they head to the polls in May.
NDP Leader Adrian Dix was in Coquitlam Tuesday to address the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, and he brought with him the positive tone he's been preaching since he was chosen by the party two years ago.
He suggested the quality of public participation is not well reflected in the political debate, and he wants to see it change.
"I think the time has passed when we should be attacking people personally who are contributing to making our communities better, and I'm not going to do it," Dix told the chamber.
Instead, the NDP leader said he wants to have a better debate about the issues - like housing and transportation - which he argued affect everyone in the province.
"These issues require complicated leadership, people working together for change," he said. "And a politics that is increasingly personal and nasty doesn't foster that after an election."
Dix also touched on a few initiatives an NDP government would consider if elected, during his roughly 30-minute speech.
He argued the key economic issue in the coming years will be a shortage of skilled workers in B.C.
The NDP leader noted his party would reinstate non-refundable education grants to help address the issue, while paying for them by reinstating a minimum tax on the big banks.
Dix also weighed in on the ongoing funding kerfuffle with TransLink, suggesting an NDP government would consider using some of the carbon tax revenues to fund transit.
He added that any decision to change the structure of the transportation authority would need to include input from municipalities, businesses and the general community.
Dix also hinted that an NDP government isn't prepared to make big changes if elected.
"These times require us to be clear about what we're going to do, things that we'll support only when the money becomes available," he said.
"I don't think it makes sense, for our supporters or for those who might oppose the NDP, for us to propose things that we can't afford to pay for."
However, when asked about a timeline for when the NDP would release its entire election platform, Dix said his party needs to wait until after the provincial budget comes down later this month.
As for courting the business community, a block of voters not typically associated with voting NDP, Dix said it's more important for business and government to come together after the election.
It also appears his positive approach to the campaign is rubbing off on his foes from the other side of the political spectrum.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain Liberal MLA Doug Horne said he agrees with Dix when it comes to the tone of politics in the province.
"I think we should be more positive generally," he told The NOW.
"I think that's what most people don't understand - we don't necessarily disagree with what the priorities are, it's how we actually get to where we need to get."
Horne added he doesn't see his party raising corporate taxes or taxes on big banks, and said the Liberals are instead focused on trying to grow the economy.