The great thing about democracy is that people get to choose. People get to make political decisions by weighing different opinions, viewpoints, positions and values.
We are doing just that in our current campaign for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. This contest, like others before it, provides a great opportunity for voters to learn about the five candidates, what they stand for and the approach each chooses to pursue in the process.
A leadership race is also perfect time for a party to re-energize, refocus and rebuild - and a perfect time for a party to grow. When I put my name forward to be a candidate for leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of PEI, I did so with a realistic understanding of our current political standing. I am a realist, but while I understand and respect the challenges of our recent positioning, I do not accept that we must continue to be defined by it.
We can grow, and if we do, we can improve our political standing. We can become a viable option for change in the next provincial election if we work together and open our minds to the realities of the changing political landscape of today and tomorrow.
That is exactly why I brought to this campaign, a focus and strategy to help rebuild, reshape and rejuvenate our party. Our campaign is built on four equal and important pillars:
- Connect and build support with current, existing members of the PC Party;
- Recruit and bring new members to the PC family;
- Reach out and bring back former party members who have ventured away in recent years; and
- Change the style and tone of our politics so that more and more Islanders can see their values, and themselves, reflected in our proud party.
Our campaign team is working diligently to execute our plan.
- We are connecting daily with party members across the province, discussing their ideas and views for how to best position this party for success.
- We are bringing dozens and dozens of new members to our party each and every day.
- We are re-connecting with former members and bringing them back to their PC home, some for the first time a decade.
- We are committed to changing the tone and style of politics by willingly debating ideas, not criticizing others, by showing that we are willing to work with all Islanders, regardless of political stripe, to finding solutions for the challenges that face our citizens and by informing Islanders about what we stand for and hope to accomplish for
our province in the future.
I have learned a great deal over the course of the 23 years I have worked for and served the PC Party of PEI. I know that we have always been most successful when we rolled out the welcome mat to Islanders from all walks of life, from all regions, from communities large and small, urban and rural. We have done best when we showed we can manage that fine balance between tradition and change. We have always been most successful when we worked to ensure our party’s direction reflects the values of all Islanders and demonstrated a desire to be a unifying force for a positive Prince Edward Island future by welcoming all who seek to find a home within our party and to share in our vision for this province.
It is a great privilege to run for the leadership of our proud party.
It is an honour for me to work with you - for you - to grow our party and to position us to be a viable option for change in the next election.