© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters on Victoria Row, a pedestrian walkway filled with restaurant and shops, in downtown Charlottetown only a stones throw away from the P.E.I. legislature
BRUDENELL- The country's Liberal MPs and Senators are behind closed doors this morning in Prince Edward Island as the party's national caucus meetings are underway.
The Atlantic caucus met earlier this morning. This is one of the largest caucuses of the party's total 33 senators and 34 MPs.
During their meeting this morning, MPs and senators from the Atlantic provinces took turns sharing issues of concern they've heard most often from the people in their ridings.
Malpeque MP Wayne Easter said one issue that came up that has not been getting enough attention is the cuts made this year to Parks Canada.
"It's affected many of the national parks," he said, adding he has received a significant number of complaints over the reduced shoulder season hours at Green Gables in Cavendish.
"Word mouth advertising hurts you, and when people say, 'There's no sense going to P.E.I. because Green Gables won't be open,' that does not do much for our tourism business."
Senators in the room said they've been hearing much concern about the Senate spending scandal, especially the cheque given by the prime minister's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, to P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy to pay off inappropriately claimed travel expenses.
Other issues that were raised include: the high rates of youth unemployment, the poor price of lobster this year across Atlantic Canada, the struggling middle class and the changes to employment insurance.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey said the issues of concern in other Atlantic provinces are similar to those of concern to Islanders.
Over the next few days of national caucus meetings, policies will begin to be developed to address the issues raised by the party members today.
"It will be done regionally and nationally, but the push will be at a national level with regional input," Casey said.
Party leader Justin Trudeau is now heading up national caucus meetings for the remainder of the day.
He will hold a press conference at noon, after which P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz will address the members.
Guardian reporter Teresa Wright is in Brudenell covering the Liberal caucus meetings today. Check back to The Guardian's website throughout the day for updates. Full details and coverage online later today and in tomorrow's print edition of the paper.