NDP leadership hopefuls lay out their platforms

Teresa Wright
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NDP leadership candidates Trevor Leclerc, left, and Mike Redmond field questions from the floor during a leadership debate held last night in Cornwall. Over 75 people were in attendance. Guardian photo.

CORNWALL – The two leadership hopefuls for the provincial NDP laid out their visions for the party to a crowded room of Islanders during a leadership debate in Cornwall Wednesday night.

The evening played out less like a debate, however, and more like a public interview of the two candidates on their positions regarding various issues.

Mike Redmond and Trevor Leclerc faced questions from moderator Ian Petrie and from the roomful of over 75 people on topics such as health care, education and primary industries. They were also questioned about child care, youth involvement, poverty elimination and environmental protection.

And they didn’t shy away from more controversial topics such as abortion, Plan B and HST.

Redmond began many of his answers by taking minor jabs at the current Liberal government and former Progressive Conservative administration, often eliciting laughter from the audience.

“We are, as an Island, in this mess, not just because of the Liberal government, but the Conservative government before them,” Redmond said when asked about HST.

“They flip-flopped back and forth and spent your money on golf courses and hills and Polar Foods and things that should never have been engaged in in the first place, and now they’re turning to the taxpayers and saying ‘Get us out of this mess’… It’s time for that to change and a Mike Redmond NDP will make sure there is no HST.”

Redmond drew on his experience as a sporting coach and outlined the direction in which he would like to take the party, if elected leader.

“For me, (leadership) is going and having personal interaction, making sure that people have faith, making sure that they know their value, that they’re loved and that they have a resource in me that will clear the path and get the job done,” Redmond said.

LeClerc spoke at length about his vision for the party, which he said he views as a family that respects its members and values their opinions on public policy.

“Governed by New Democrats, we will govern as a family and not as a business,” LeClerc said.

He said he plans to travel across the Island and spend a week in each riding to experience the daily lives of Islanders and hear their concerns.

“We want to assure Islanders we’re just like them,” Leclerc said.

“We are you, we’re here and we are listening.”

Both Redmond and Leclerc echoed these sentiments with promises of public engagement and heeding the will of the people – something they both accused the two main parties of not doing.

“You will see our party grow because we’ll do something that a lot people won’t do and that’s engage the general public,” Redmond said.

“As a coach you go and get good players. As the leader of the New Democratic party, we’ll go get 27 strong districts, 27 strong candidates and we form the next provincial government.”

The first advance poll for the leadership will be held Thursday in Charlottetown and advance polls in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown and Poole’s Corner will also be held this Saturday. 


The leadership convention will be held on Oct. 13 at The Delta hotel. 

Geographic location: Iceland, Cornwall

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Recent comments

  • ST.
    September 27, 2012 - 14:24

    Its wonderful to see the support coming for the NDP- its a long time in coming out east. Meeting the social and individual needs of people, a sustainable enviornment, and economy without profit bieng the guiding factor. Its thier time.....As a country right now...we are all in a car heading for a cliff and arguing over who is in the drivers seat.......the time for change is NOW

  • Balanced media needed
    September 27, 2012 - 09:33

    Could the Guardian please stop trying to push the NDP on us? They are clearly favouring this party. More balanced - and accurate - coverage would be nice

    • Gustavo Fring
      September 27, 2012 - 16:07

      Oh hey powsie... think it might be the 11% jump in two consecutive polls? Or the fact that getting 100 members of the public (that's right both the guardian and cbc gave LOW estimates) has anything to do with it? OR maybe it has to do with the NDP being the only party actually trying to engage the public? Or doing anything noteworthy. It might even be because for the past 6 months they've been on top of the issues and have had the official opposition chasing THEM for responses to issues. But naw, you're right, it is way more likely that the TWO managing editors, for the guardian and cbc respectively, who make the final call on all stories took out memberships in the NDP...

    • nitpicker
      September 27, 2012 - 17:28

      Favoring the NDP? That's hilarious! Before Mike Redmond announced he was running, usually the only time you heard anything about the NDP was around election time and how poorly the failed. Now a summary of their first (I think) leadership debate, and a couple of recent stories about the two leadership candidates get's them labelled as "favouring the party".

    September 27, 2012 - 09:17

    I've been a tory for years-however I think its time to give the NDP a shake next time around. Not saying I'm going to go out and buy an NDP membership but if Mike can win and run in Stratford I will be voting NDP in 2015. I'm a little disappointed in Mr Alyward-from inner rumblings I'm hearing he thinks he's leadership material-James you are not-try just being a good MLA for us in Stratford Kinlock-you have to remember you beat Cynthia-which really is nothing to brag about.

  • Trevor Leclerc
    September 27, 2012 - 09:13

    Thanks for the question, SG elected representatives (especially in PEI) should have no excuse for being inaccessible or nonresponsive to constituents. Although a recall mechansm does not currently exist in our system, the mere desire for one suggests a unacceptable sense of elitism has crept into even the most well intentioned offices. I would hate to think we have failed to such an extent we must spend precious money on holding a recall vote to get representatives' attention. So while I would not object to Recall legislation, I would rather a caucus that has an eye on responsiveness, so taxpayers need not bear the burden of having to hold a vote earlier than scheduled. Rather than have consitituents seethe about their local MLA, I would much prefer receiving a phone call directly. The buck stops with the leader - always.

    • intobed
      September 27, 2012 - 15:04

      I want that too Trevor, but when a government lies to get elected then does what it wants to reward its buddies, the voters need a way to fire them. If the government is open and good, then the legislation will not be used, but we (as voters) need recall legislation as security against another bad government driving us deeper into debt and poverty to put money into their friend's pockets. Unless the NDP makes recall legislation a priority they will not get my vote. We need this.

  • Bill Kays
    September 27, 2012 - 07:52

    Finally someone who will stand up for Islanders. Islanders do not want the HST, only some business owners want it. I am glad they both state they would do away with it. Engaging the general public on all decisions affecting most Islanders is what a government is supposed to do. I have heard this talk before, though, and as such, I am skeptical that any real change will take place simply because of the political system. Our political system is like a hydra, a multi-headed monster, in that if you cut off one head the monster still remains. We must change the monster, not just the head.

    • intobed
      September 27, 2012 - 08:26

      Actually Bill, the group that lobbied the most for bringing in the HST was the PEI Federation of Agriculture, a group representing our PEI farmers. They lobbied hard for years to bring in the HST, and were "delighted" when it was announced. Business groups, fishermen, and the tourist industry also are strongly in favour of the HST.

  • SG
    September 26, 2012 - 23:31

    Are the two NDP Leadership Candidates willing to implement Recall Legislation if elected?