P.E.I. Liberals out of debt and gearing for 2016 election

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Premier Robert Ghiz, from right, and MLA Charlie McGeoghegan chat with Julia O’Hanley, a member of the P.E.I. Young Liberals executive, during the P.E.I. Liberal Association’s AGM on Saturday in Poole’s Corner.

POOLE’S CORNER - The Prince Edward Island Liberal Association is banking towards a 2016 election.

Quite literally, as the association announced it has a $208,832 surplus from last year during the annual general meeting on Saturday at Red’s Corner.

Party president Ewan Clark noted the party had started the year with a deficit of nearly $21,000.

“Your P.E.I. Liberal party is debt free,” said Clark. “We can now focus on building for the upcoming elections and the ongoing work of the party.”

Much of the AGM, which saw no resolutions, looked back on the previous year.

Provincially, the party celebrated its seventh year since forming government.

Clark said the major undertakings for the party in 2013 were the Trans-Canada Highway realignment, as well as health care changes and pension reform, all of which saw a high level of public debate.

“Governing is not easy and when leadership was required, tough decisions were made, but always following strong Island-wide community consultation, upon consideration of all pertinent facts and interests, and grounded on what was in the best interest of all Islanders,” said Clark.

However, with the party’s debt cleared, the AGM also looked at gearing up for a likely 2015 fall federal election and 2016 provincial election.

Both Clark and premier Robert Ghiz, who was the event’s guest speaker, noted the federal party’s growth after Justin Trudeau’s election as leader.

Ghiz said he has felt a growing sense of unity amongst the federal party, something he hasn’t felt in a long time.

“I felt a sense of motivation, a sense of people coming together wanting to make Canada a better place,” he said.

The party has also seen some positive poll numbers provincially.

The most recent results from Corporate Research Associates showed more than half of P.E.I. residents surveyed said they were completely or mostly satisfied with the overall performance of the Ghiz government, an increase of 12 points since February. The number of Islanders who said they were dissatisfied also dropped by 10 points.

Ghiz told association members it was through their support and volunteering that the provincial Liberals were able to “buck the trend” of holding a one-term government in the Maritimes.

“We have been the only party in the Maritimes to get re-elected in the last seven years and it’s because of the great team we have to work with in the province,” he said. “It motivates me every day knowing that there are volunteers out there that believe in what I believe in, a strong Prince Edward Island, a strong Canada.”

The day also saw an election of officers, all of which were acclaimed.

Those positions were for Ewan Clark, president, Don Reid, male vice president, Marilyn Lowther, female vice president, Neil Handrahan, treasurer, and David Brown as secretary.

Those positions remain unchanged from last year.

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, Corporate Research Associates

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

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