Wade MacLauchlan says he will focus on prosperity and people as he takes over as premier of Prince Edward Island, promising to be a collaborative leader who will take the high road.
MacLauchlan delivered his inaugural speech as premier-designate to a crowd of over 800 supporters at the Convention Centre in Charlottetown. In it, he presented some themes he said would be priorities for his government, including growing the economy, increasing immigration rates including inter-provincial migration and enhancing public engagement.
He did also add a few other hints at what will likely be future policy directions going forward.
Government should lead by example and balance the budget, he said.
In health and education, he said the province should “direct the greatest possible share of our human and financial resources to front-line services.”
Regarding the environment, he noted P.E.I. is a world leader in renewable energy, but said we can do more as “an important first step as we turn our attention to climate change.”
He believes getting the public more engaged requires a more open government. To that effect, he noted an opportunity to make government data open and accessible.
He talked about strengthening local governments and communities, especially rural communities.
A further strategic priority will be to put Prince Edward Island on the map, nationally and internationally, he said, adding that he intends to lead this effort.
He paid tribute to the P.E.I.’s two Mi’Kmaq First Nations and promised to give prominence to government’s relationship with the Mi’maq people.
He remained high level on policy, focusing mainly on presenting his optimistic view of Islanders, the province and its future.
He presented himself as humble, but also experienced and ready to lead P.E.I. and take the province to the next level.
“Islanders understand and value leadership. They want leadership that is positive and optimistic, leadership that is strong, experienced and resourceful,” he said.
“I offer you mine, drawing on decades of involvements in community, philanthropic and business endeavours.”
The Liberal party will take the high road going forward, he said, adding his belief that Islanders and Canadians alike are tired of “chippiness and cheap shots.”
“We will call on our better nature, and we will call on others to be better natured.”
The crowd was pleased and excited by his speech, many lingering for over an hour after the event ended to chat amongst one another about their enthusiasm for their new premier-designate.
A number of congratulatory video messages from some prominent current and former politicians were played during the convention, including from premiers Kathleen Wynne and Brian Gallant, former premiers Frank McKenna and Alex Campbell and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Saturday welcoming MacLauchlan as premier-designate of P.E.I.
“I look forward to working with Mr. MacLauchlan to advance the interests of the people of Prince Edward Island and all Canadians, with a view to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity across the province and country,” Harper said.
“I would also like to thank outgoing Premier Robert Ghiz and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
MacLauchlan will be sworn in as P.E.I.’s 32nd premier on Monday.