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NDP predicts election breakthrough during leader’s dinner


A P.E.I. Liberal Party led by Wade MacLauchlan opens the door for a major breakthrough for the provincial New Democrats in the next election which could come in March, NDP leader Mike Redmond told supporters this weekend.

A P.E.I. Liberal Party led by Wade MacLauchlan opens the door for a major breakthrough for the provincial New Democrats in the next election which could come in March, NDP leader Mike Redmond told supporters this weekend.

Redmond delivered that message to a group of supporters during the NDP leader's brunch Saturday in Charlottetown.

The brunch came one day after MacLauchlan, well known as UPEI's president from 1999 to 2011, announced he would run for the Liberal leadership at the party's convention in February.

Redmond, who was a UPEI soccer coach for most of those presidential years, didn't mince words when describing Liberal support for MacLauchlan as "political elitism."

"The Liberals are crowning Wade MacLauchlan their new king. But  . . . Wade is nowhere on issues relating to poverty, social justice, the environment, a sustainable economy and democratic accountability," said Redmond.

A press release issued Friday morning by Redmond mere minutes after MacLauchlan announced his intention to run was equally as scathing, accusing the candidate of a lifetime of wealth and opportunity because of his family's close association and business deadlines with Liberal governments.

"Each person in this room has done more to advance progressive causes and help people in need in a single month than Wade MacLauchlan has done in his whole life."

Redmond pointed to job cuts during MacLauchlan's time at UPEI, a faculty strike, questionable contracts awarded to the Tourism Research Centre and the school's exclusion from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Redmond didn't just focus on MacLauchlan's legacy at the university.

He also raised several recent controversial issues involving the Liberal government, including the Provincial Nominee Program and the recent private investigator's report describing the government's attempts at regulating online gaming.

Redmond said MacLauchlan will now have to answer to those issues.

"(It's a) new coach, same players. Nothing has changed in the Liberal Party of P.E.I. and nothing will change under the guise of Wade MacLauchlan," he said. "If Mr. MacLauchlan can take the Liberal crown on a silk pillow and not answer for all the cash grabs he and his Liberal friends have done over the past seven and a half years, then he has another thing coming,"

The remarks were well-received by supporters.

Gord McNeilly, who has announced his intention to run for District 14 candidate, said much of the party's growth on P.E.I. can be attributed to Redmond.

"He's done a great job of getting the message out, defining who we are, what we stand for and what we need to do in the future," said McNeilly. "The difference between him and the other leaders is that Mike is standing up for the things he cares about and the things he believes in. The other leaders are not there, its whatever will get them more votes."

Redmond said the party is in a positive place, with money in the bank and a number of candidates ready to come forward in the coming weeks.

He also spoke on the party's major platforms, such as a rural development strategy, poverty reduction, ending patronage and addressing environmental concerns.

He said the NDP is anticipating an election as early as March 2015.

"We will be organized and we can make history in 2015 but it starts by the individuals," said Redmond. "Everyone has a role to play."

A P.E.I. Liberal Party led by Wade MacLauchlan opens the door for a major breakthrough for the provincial New Democrats in the next election which could come in March, NDP leader Mike Redmond told supporters this weekend.

Redmond delivered that message to a group of supporters during the NDP leader's brunch Saturday in Charlottetown.

The brunch came one day after MacLauchlan, well known as UPEI's president from 1999 to 2011, announced he would run for the Liberal leadership at the party's convention in February.

Redmond, who was a UPEI soccer coach for most of those presidential years, didn't mince words when describing Liberal support for MacLauchlan as "political elitism."

"The Liberals are crowning Wade MacLauchlan their new king. But  . . . Wade is nowhere on issues relating to poverty, social justice, the environment, a sustainable economy and democratic accountability," said Redmond.

A press release issued Friday morning by Redmond mere minutes after MacLauchlan announced his intention to run was equally as scathing, accusing the candidate of a lifetime of wealth and opportunity because of his family's close association and business deadlines with Liberal governments.

"Each person in this room has done more to advance progressive causes and help people in need in a single month than Wade MacLauchlan has done in his whole life."

Redmond pointed to job cuts during MacLauchlan's time at UPEI, a faculty strike, questionable contracts awarded to the Tourism Research Centre and the school's exclusion from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Redmond didn't just focus on MacLauchlan's legacy at the university.

He also raised several recent controversial issues involving the Liberal government, including the Provincial Nominee Program and the recent private investigator's report describing the government's attempts at regulating online gaming.

Redmond said MacLauchlan will now have to answer to those issues.

"(It's a) new coach, same players. Nothing has changed in the Liberal Party of P.E.I. and nothing will change under the guise of Wade MacLauchlan," he said. "If Mr. MacLauchlan can take the Liberal crown on a silk pillow and not answer for all the cash grabs he and his Liberal friends have done over the past seven and a half years, then he has another thing coming,"

The remarks were well-received by supporters.

Gord McNeilly, who has announced his intention to run for District 14 candidate, said much of the party's growth on P.E.I. can be attributed to Redmond.

"He's done a great job of getting the message out, defining who we are, what we stand for and what we need to do in the future," said McNeilly. "The difference between him and the other leaders is that Mike is standing up for the things he cares about and the things he believes in. The other leaders are not there, its whatever will get them more votes."

Redmond said the party is in a positive place, with money in the bank and a number of candidates ready to come forward in the coming weeks.

He also spoke on the party's major platforms, such as a rural development strategy, poverty reduction, ending patronage and addressing environmental concerns.

He said the NDP is anticipating an election as early as March 2015.

"We will be organized and we can make history in 2015 but it starts by the individuals," said Redmond. "Everyone has a role to play."

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