Dix delivers first Vancouver Board of Trade speech

B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix has told a Vancouver business audience that he will raise their taxes and improve public services if he's elected premier next May.

In his first-ever speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Dix acknowledged his platform isn't popular in the business community.

Dix pledged to raise corporate taxes if elected and reinstate a minimum tax on banks, adding his priority is education and skills training.

"That’s something we have to work with the people in this room, business and labour, to get done."

Dix received a partial standing ovation, but many business leaders say they aren't convinced.

Dix is leading in the polls to become B.C.'s next premier but he has his work cut out with the business crowd before the May 2013 election.

An informal survey by the Coalition of B.C. Businesses of more than 600 small business employers suggests 77 per cent of voters are pessimistic about hiring and investment under the New Democrats.

"We all want to see employment standards and labour policies that help protect employees, but at the same time they've got to be relatively easy to deal with in a competitive world," said coalition chair Mark von Schellwitz, who was at the luncheon.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals launched a new website targeting Dix on Tuesday, but MLA Bill Bennett denies the "Same Dix, Same Tricks" website can be characterized as an attack.

"This is a website that actually contains facts about the NDP's record when they were in government," he said.

"[The B.C. Liberals are] exposed to constant scrutiny, and we should be as a government … but I think voters have a right to also know about the NDP record," Bennett said.

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