CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The search for a new leader for the New Democratic Party of P.E.I. has become a three-way race.
Westmoreland resident Susan MacVittie announced on Tuesday she will be seeking the party’s leadership.
MacVittie previously worked as an outreach organizer and scheduler for Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns. She has been active with the NDP P.E.I.’s provincial council, as well as in the party’s fundraising and communication committees.
MacVittie was surrounded by party members at Timothy’s World Coffee in Charlottetown as she made the announcement and described the party as a “voice for the people.”
“A lot of policies Island New Democrats work towards is for a better life for all Islanders and to speak up for working Islanders,” MacVittie said during her announcement at Timothy’s World Coffee in Charlottetown Tuesday afternoon. “We have a real chance to move the party forward in the next provincial election. Islanders are seeking change that will work for them and I think they’re understandably disheartened by old-line parties.”
MacVittie, Margaret Andrade and Joe Byrne are the three declared candidates with a leadership convention scheduled for Saturday, April 7. The position was previously held by Mike Redmond, who resigned in December.
“We have a real chance to move the party forward in the next provincial election. Islanders are seeking change that will work for them and I think they’re understandably disheartened by old-line parties.”
MacVittie is a fourth-generation Islander who returned home after living on Vancouver Island for several years. She had worked as a managing editor for an environmental news magazine.
During her announcement, MacVittie spoke of the need to ensure health care and education remain public and accessible for Islanders, as well as a need for affordable housing and revitalization of rural P.E.I.
MacVittie also said she wanted to hold the government accountable to representing the people, pointing to what she described as the province stalling on Islanders’ wish for proportional representation.
She said she wants to see more women enter politics, pointing to the Hilda Ramsay Fund organized by the NDP P.E.I. women’s committee.
MacVittie Said the NDP has a long history on P.E.I., noting the precursor Co-operative Commonwealth Federation held its first P.E.I. meeting in Bedeque in 1936 and saw farmers and workers come together to make their lives better.
“These are the roots we need to get back to, putting Islanders first. We’ve seen the success of our party forming government in six provinces and one territory, I believe it’s our turn here in Prince Edward Island,” said MacVittie. “I see so much potential in this Island and as leader I want to ensure that government works for all Islanders.”