Sees reasons for optimism
Island NDP leader Mike Redmond talks with Connie Doucette and her daughter Jorja McLellan during his tour of West Prince on Wednesday. He predicted his party’s fortunes will increase as it gets better known.
ALBERTON -- It will be one year Sunday since Mike Redmond took over as leader of the Island New Democratic Party.
“It’s been an interesting year,” he reflected Wednesday during a whirlwind tour of West Prince communities.
“When it’s all said and done, I think I could write a great book about my trials and tribulations, but it’s been a great learning experience,” he said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and had a chance to meet so many wonderful Islanders and so many people passionate about our province. “I think when you have those opportunities - I’m a curious person by nature. I’m always looking for knowledge - people are certainly ready and able at any time to offer an opinion.”
Redmond insisted the tour was planned long before the political drama of Hal Perry crossing from the Conservatives to the Liberals and Olive Crane getting kicked out of the Tory caucus started to play out.
He admitted what’s been happening, though, does play into public opinion. As for the recent opinion poll that put the NDP second in support ahead of the Tories, he said the NDPs intend to leave the Tories behind.
“I actually feel there is something profound happening on Prince Edward Island today. I think people are starting to realize the way government has functioned for the past number of decades hasn’t been responsible; hasn’t been open and transparent, and we’ve left people behind and we’ve left people without a voice,” Redmond said. “The NDP can offer that voice; we can offer that perspective and ensure that everybody has an opportunity to live with dignity.”
Now there’s less fear about saying ‘I can mark an ‘X’ beside an NDP ballot and know I’m not wasting my vote; I’m actually going to put an NDP representative into the legislature.’ I think that excites people Leader of the P.E.I. New Democrats, Mike Redmond
Wednesday’s tour was followed by an evening reception in West Prince. Redmond said he was eager to talk and to listen.
He is also eager to get the nomination process underway in West Prince and across the Island. He said his nomination meeting will be held in District 12, Charlottetown-Victoria Park, likely within the next month, and that he expects others will be arranged by early in the New Year.
“Wait until we have a full slate of candidates so that we can really offer an alternative,” Redmond said in noting his party is only 10 points behind the Liberals who have 23 elected members.
“We are very focused about what we are going to do as a party and when we start to line out candidates people will see that this party is for real.”
He said the surge in public support has much to do with the hard work the NDP has been doing. “When most political parties take the summers off, we work twice as hard,” he said, “because it is our opportunity to be at the same level, without the legislature sitting, to be able to show Islanders we are going to work this hard all the time.”
He said the party is becoming better known and more accepted. “Now there’s less fear about saying ‘I can mark an ‘X’ beside an NDP ballot and know I’m not wasting my vote; I’m actually going to put an NDP representative into the legislature.’ I think that excites people.”
Redmond said the party he represents is focused on getting into communities to see what the real problems are and to find solutions.