Provincial NDP turns focus on building ridings

Mitch MacDonald
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Mike Redmond, leader of the P.E.I. NDP, speaks during the party’s annual policy convention at the Charlottetown Hotel Saturday.

While a provincial election could still be two years away, Islanders can expect to start hearing knocks on their doors from members of the provincial New Democratic Party.

NDP leader Mike Redmond rallied members during the party’s annual policy convention at the Charlottetown Hotel Saturday.

With the theme of “changing democracy,” the convention was held in the looming shadow of an upcoming provincial election scheduled for either the fall of 2015 or spring of 2016.

Redmond said the provincial NDP has made strides in the past year with growth and noted the party has retired its previous election debt and moved “into the black” for the first time.

However, the year hasn’t been without difficulties.

While the latest CRA poll released in March showed the NDP still had a strong second-place hold in P.E.I., the party saw support drop to 22, down from 26 per cent in November 2013.

“To acknowledge successes without challenges would be missing the point in the building of a political party,” Redmond said during his leader’s report. “But let us be perfectly clear, if the NDP P.E.I. is to offer all Islanders a true alternative, then work is now just commencing and each and every member in this room must assume a role.”

Redmond said the party must have four “strong federal ridings and 27 functioning districts” in order to form a future government.

He stressed an importance on knocking on doors, canvassing, raising funds and recruiting candidates. Members at the convention were also encouraged to sign up to the party’s sub-committees.

“Our vehicle to create P.E.I.’s first ever social democratic government is through our districts, engaging all those communities that have been left out of the conversation,” said Redmond. “Our districts and the leaders within are our vehicles for social action and social change.”

The day also saw the election of a new executive, which included; president Michelle Blanchard, first vice president Everett Baker, third vice president Eleanor Sibbert and secretary Peter Meggs.

Blanchard said taking on the role of president was both an honour and humbling.

“I’ve met some truly, truly remarkable amazing compassionate people since I joined the party two years ago,” said Blanchard. “The party is growing… we’re thankful for every new member there is renewed energy. We’re all here because we believe in the party and we believe in the values of the NDP.”

Like Redmond, Blanchard also put a focus on moving forward.

“Because the election is coming and we’re not ready yet. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Resolutions passed included reaffirming the party’s positions on continuing a deep-well moratorium and the immediate banning of all cosmetic pesticides.

Another policy resolution included a motion supporting a province-wide public transit system provided through “expenditure of government funds supported by a progressive taxation system rather than a surtax on gasoline price.”

Another resolution advocated the implementation of programs, including financial incentives, to small, diversified and organic farmers.

Lorraine Michael, leader of the NDP in Newfoundland and Labrador and MHA for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, was guest speaker at the event. Michael also participated in a panel discussion on “democracy and inclusion.”


Check Monday’s print and online editions of The Guardian for full details on Saturday’s convention.

Organizations: New Democratic Party, Charlottetown Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • voter
    April 28, 2014 - 10:34

    sounds like they want what other politicians were able to gouge from the taxpayers of pei -- we dont need liberal , conservative , ndp independent etc at the trough - chase them all and find a better type of person to treat islanders wisely - the present disarray of "political types" and family compacts have proven they are not worthy of their positions of trust

  • david
    April 28, 2014 - 08:18

    Where they really need to turn their focus is towards leadership of their own party. If they had credible leader now they would be sitting in a potential position to win some seats in the next election. Problem is the NDP has the same problem the Tories have a party lead by an unelectable leader and one who just flails from one issue to next. Where the party brass should be focusing their attention is getting a more credible leader and then the ridings and candidates will flow in naturally.

  • don
    April 28, 2014 - 07:03

    we need olive crane to start her own party. as she is doing a great job now that her hands are not tied by the back room boys. go olive you are a true spud islander. not like the rest look at ghiz a 2nd generation,wes import, the rest of the mla's i bet they are no more then maybe 3 generation islanders.

    • Only the NDP Stands for All
      April 28, 2014 - 10:14

      Olive Crane voted for the Liberal throne speech. Rather bizarre. She is in a very weird space. She criticizes the Liberal government like your granny spanking you. It is not supposed to hurt. Not really. She was silent as the NDP pushed hard for the Ghiz government to increase minimum wage. After nine months of NDP urging on basic income guarantee Olive gives Ghiz a bridge to appear like he cares about the issue. Intentional or not it came off like a fifth floor dream sequence. Olive has betrayed women who supported her by staying status quo with both the red boys and the blue boys on our dark ages abortion services situation. She does not bring up the need for a ban on cosmetic pesticides, the moratorium on deep water wells, the abolition of the Senate or a public review of MLA pay, pensions and benefits. Olive protects every elite and good old boy position and interest. She does not support organic farming, local food or any of the modern sustainability movements. She has let half her riding be crushed by Harperite EI changes without saying a peep. Olive shows every characteristic of a cowed status quo politician. On PNP she has gone from full accountability to Liberal only criticism to silence, It is a very sad tale. As for generational pedigree thinking, don, that is stone age thinking, bordering on racism. Mike Redmond is standing up for all Islanders. Only with NDP MLAs in the legislature will we see issues being properly discussed and 80% of Islanders, currently ignored, finally being represented. Olive Crane's masquerade of autonomy is as inauthentic as Richard Brown's average guy schtick. Every MLA in the Legislature is there for their self interest. Only the NDP will bring change. All the others are cowed, subservient and selfish.

    • To Only the NDP Stands for All:
      April 28, 2014 - 10:39

      Are you sure your name is not Norman or Jason and that you are writing your criticism on behalf of the Tory back room? What you have written shows you know nothing about Olive, what she stands for, and issues she has raised.

    • Only the NDP
      April 28, 2014 - 12:26

      If you have any specific info to contradict any of the points listed then please do so. Having Olive Crane in there is no different than having Richard Brown taking up space. Status quo with a smoke screen. And no I am not Norman Jewison.. Nor Jason Alexander... sorry am home from away and just going by the facts on the public record. I was off voting for Olivia Chow and mixing with people whose cultural and genetic backgrounds were not identical to my own. Not up on the local personalities. Just going with what I have read in the media. And not living in economic fear every day like most people here. Thanks.

  • Prime Time
    April 27, 2014 - 18:31

    I hope Mr. Redmond can run a slate of legitimate candidates because people are sick and tired of how PEI is being run into the ground like a banana republic by Mr. Ghiz. The Conservatives need a total rebuild so I think it's prime time for the NDP but quality candidates must run in order to give voters a real reason to kick the Liberals to the curb.

  • Guardian Reader
    April 27, 2014 - 17:19

    How many people were there? A dozen?

  • ella
    April 27, 2014 - 16:04

    drop the deposit on juice container, - totally unacceptable, there should be no tax on food or containers that hold 'real' food, - just an other Ghiz gouge on the back of families. We need change, keep up the good work, Mike.

    • islander
      April 28, 2014 - 06:04

      I want no tax on fuel, no provincial portion of HST and no provincial income tax. We should and could be more like New Hampshire. Cut the public services back as nobody needs any of them anyway. Sell road kill for profit.

  • Missing
    April 27, 2014 - 08:01

    Missing is the two main items that are needed to get my support . RECALL & plan to reduce the number of MLA's in PEI to half what we are trying to support now . Until then , the NDP isn't any different than the present two main parties in looking out for themselves first & maybe the people then if there is some left . As Jack would say , that's the view from here .

  • Desperately Hoping
    April 27, 2014 - 07:44

    I honestly hope this party can do what it takes to get their act together. They've got work to do is an understatement for sure. This Ghiz government has to be shown the door or I'm afraid of what will happen to this was-wonderful place. And the PCs are just as bad or worse. They try to deceive before they even get in by claiming to BE PCs. They're not PCs. They're the reform party in costume. Harper stooges.

    • pat
      April 27, 2014 - 20:37

      Unfortunately the Ghiz crew are laughing all the way to the bank. They all qualify for a pension and will be able to collect sooner then later.

  • Meat and Potatoes Accountability and Openness
    April 26, 2014 - 21:24

    Stick to the basics, integrity, honesty, trim the MLAS to 15, cut all the previous MLA's pensions pro rata by the amount they raised the debt while in power. huh? This Redmond fella is looking able, watch him develop.

  • Billy
    April 26, 2014 - 21:21

    Not bad, 22 percent with no elected members or platform. How many ndp were at this convention anyway. The lieberals must also have been there and voted for them in this survey.

  • This Is Very Impressive and Encouraging
    April 26, 2014 - 20:09

    Bravo. The Island has to get away from the 2 party pendulum which gives the same effect. Its our turn has always been the result, the debt has never stopped, it has only increased in speed and size, political hacks get pensions that they should b collecting in jail. C'mon Redmond put it to these lawyers, run em' down!!!!! BRAVO NDP Mulcair and Redmond

  • Realist
    April 26, 2014 - 19:31

    What a joke. These clowns couldn't run a lemonade stand.

    • The Joke Is On You
      April 27, 2014 - 16:27

      Hey : The joke is on you if you believe the present bunch are doing a good job . All they are doing is getting rich thanks to the like of you , also stealing any future that our off spring have of being able to live here when they grow up . A kinder garden class could do better . They wouldn't know how to steal & rip the people off like these guy's do . LOL