It appears to us that a number of factors and events have converged over the past few years that have triggered a sea-change in the Island political scene. A wave is sweeping the Island from tip-to-tip.
Money, (lots of it), and integrity (or at least the lack of it) are at the heart of it.
It began with the PNP under the Tories, continued and accelerated with e-gaming under Robert Ghiz and the Liberals. And now, we have a premier who has covered up many past and current questionable activities. It boils down to cronyism, special treatment of insiders and oh so much secrecy. Islanders are fed up. We sense this, we know this, it is a palpable entity gathering strength day-by-day.
Vision PEI has a Facebook page where we post news stories and P.E.I.-authored opinion pieces almost daily. Some fall flat, but others clearly and succinctly address the real concerns of Islanders and go viral.
Upwards of 30,000 Islanders, committed voters all, we would suggest, have accessed these posts. The numbers keep growing. Amazing, considering that approximately 90,000 Islanders voted in the last election.
The feedback is consistent: “enough” they say, “we’ve had enough of old politics. We want progressive governments that deal with real people issues. We want ethical, open, transparent governance; we want an economy built on P.E.I.; we want a healthy environment.”
These are the three key, consistent messages. We do not intend to abandon our non-partisan position, but suggest that at the present time only the Green Party, and some individuals within the PC party, have offered these commitments.
Our current system of party politics and first-past-the post elections is anathema to progress, vision and long-term planning. Islanders know this; the recent District 11 by-election results support this reality.
We notice even more positive change.
We all know the old adage here on P.E.I.: “People vote like their parents did.” Yes, that was perhaps an overblown truism for many decades but change is in the air.
Our aging population has become less unwavering when it comes to party loyalties. Enhanced communication, access to social media is the most likely catalyst for abandoning long-held, rigid political positions. Combined with the enthusiasm and awareness of our youth, we are moving rapidly towards a new political paradigm.
The Liberals and Tories must attempt to comprehend and cope with the new realities, like it or not. Both caucuses have good people, we know them. We know they entered politics with honourable intentions only to be caught up in a system that favours party over people. Their voices are muted. The most they can offer to their constituents are platitudes and band-aids.
“Be loyal to the party and the premier,” the behind-the-scenes, self-serving insiders insist. But that is yesterday’s game.
Change is coming, those who embrace it will be remembered and cherished.
Vision PEI members – Dale Small, David Weale, Kevin Arsenault and Wayne Carver