On Friday June 2, 2017 I was very pleased to formally announce my candidacy for the PEI PC Leadership. Below is the video and text of my speech, and some photos from the event. Also, there was a great Question and Answer session immediately following my speech. It is an exciting time to get back to the basics of being a Progressive Conservative!
Getting Back to Basics
Wow. What a crowd! Bonjour et bienvenue!
Ladies and gentleman, former and current MP’s, former and current MLA’s, municipal politicians, PC Party executive, distinguished guests – all fellow Islanders – thank you for coming today.
Ou est les Progressiste-Conservateur? Are there any Progressive Conservatives here today? Je suis un P.C.! I’m a Progressive Conservative and proud of it!
It’s pretty clear as I look at the number of people gathered here – and feel the excitement in this room – that people want change. I believe that people want to get Back to Basics – a leader with integrity that is going to focus on your priorities – improving our infrastructure (i.e. roads), schools and health care. A leader that truly puts the best interests of Islanders first when governing our great province.
When I’m out across our beautiful Island talking to people, it’s clear to me that we are an Island full of problem solvers. Talking about our problems is not enough – Islanders are constantly suggesting ways that we can solve our issues. Some solutions are simple, and some are complex, but we all want progress.
Here are a some examples.
- Why is there no plan to provide reliable high speed internet service throughout PEI that is so critical in today’s world?
- Why is over $30 million being spent on a new Cornwall Bypass instead of using that money to resurface almost 1000 km of existing roads?
- Why do government tenders continue to specify a preference for food from off-Island multi-national companies – instead of local producers?
- Why does government employ dozens of teachers to manage and conduct provincial assessments instead of putting them back in the classroom and relying on the assessments of teachers that work with their students every day?
- Government pays over $5000/month to keep a person in a long term care facility. Why not give the option for them to get a large portion of that amount and stay with loved ones in their home community?
- Why hasn’t government put critical mental health services in place – like a mobile mental health crisis team to help prevent suicides?
The solutions are there, and these are just a handful of examples. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but why is action not being taken? Some will argue cost, but most of the solutions I just referred to will save the government money, have no additional cost, and help grow our economy – or they are critical for saving lives.
I think it is because there is a lack of political will, a serious lack of leadership, and a culture of “not rocking the boat” that starts at the top and trickles down. Government leadership’s way has become to promise as much as they can get away with, and do as little as possible to avoid criticism.
Well – the status quo is not good enough. We have some of the best minds in our province employed as civil servants. With leadership that understands the priorities of Islanders, employs progressive thinking, and empowers frontline workers to make change, we do not have to accept the status quo.
I want to tell you a story passed onto me from my father. Two frogs fell in a pail of fresh milk. One frog panicked, frantically tried to climb the sides of the bucket, soon tired out and drown. The other frog swam slowly for hours and a pat of butter started to form – and he kept going until it was big enough he could climb up on it and jump out of the pail. Like the frog that survived, I want to get Back to Basics – hard work, determination, and common sense.
I joined the Progressive Conservative Party as a teenager in the late 1980’s because I believe in core PC values. Getting Back to Basics means reminding ourselves what these core values are: Democracy, Accountability, Responsibility, Compassion, Respect, Entrepreneurship, Self-Reliance, Stewardship, and Patriotism. These are the 9 core values that are in our PC constitution. These PC values are my values and I believe they are the values of most Islanders, and if we make decisions using them as a lens we will serve Islanders very well.
The best part is being a PC means taking the best of the past and bringing new, innovative ideas to the table! For example the idea of a “Universal Basic Income” is perfectly in line with PC values… and our PC mission. Here is the PC Mission statement straight from our Party constitution:
Mission – Our mission as Progressive Conservatives is to form a fiscally responsible, socially progressive government that promotes individual achievement and personal responsibility, is accountable to its citizens, listens to its people, and embraces innovation, while preserving the best of our unique heritage and diverse cultures and learning from the past.
This is why I pushed for micro-loans for one and two person home-based “micro-business” – and the government listened to me an implemented this program. This is why I want tax credits for self-employed micro-business entrepreneurs who export their product and services off-Island.
Our PC values and mission is why I advocate for locally produced clean renewable power through solar, wind and hydro to replace the over $465 million of energy we import every year – 36% of our trade deficit!
The core PC value of Stewardship – leaving our environment as good as or better than we found it – is why I push so hard for watershed groups to get more funding – after all it is agreed that watershed groups return ten times the money allocated to them!
What can I say – I’m excited to be Tory! Is anyone else excited to be a Progressive Conservative? Because you should be!
Aujourd-hui je cherche la position de Chef du Parti Progressiste-Conservateur! This is why I officially announce to you today that I am seeking the position of leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island!
Thank you for your support, and I look forward to the next 5 months or so as I travel across our great province getting Back to Basics – grass roots conversations – meeting with, and truly listening to all Islanders!