There are now two candidates running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party of P.E.I.
Charlottetown resident Margaret Andrade announced Wednesday she will be seeking the party’s leadership.
Andrade volunteered during former leader Mike Redmond’s campaign in last year’s District 11 by-election.
“That was my opportunity to see how P.E.I. politics were done and it piqued my interest,” she said. “Now that Mike has stepped down, I thought I would enjoy this, and we need change and an opportunity to move forward. I know it’s said over and over again, but we do need more transparency (in P.E.I. politics).”
Andrade and Joe Byrne are the two declared candidates for a leadership convention scheduled for Saturday, April 7.
Redmond resigned from the role in early December.
Andrade grew up in Toronto and later moved to Alberta, where she was elected as a municipal councillor.
She later ran federally for the NDP during the 2015 election in the district of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
Andrade and her son moved to P.E.I. more than a year and a half ago.
She said she will be posting a Facebook video every week leading up to the convention, each focusing on a different issue affecting Islanders.
She also wants to make sure the province doesn’t lose sight of its social responsibilities as the population grows.
“I’m disappointed in the lack of planning for seniors and strategy for an Alzheimer’s program and the difficulties people still have working at a seasonal business. I think there are better ways for us to grow as an Island while also making certain we’re bringing each other along,” said Andrade, who also pointed to other health-care issues.
However, Andrade also wants to hear from Islanders on what issues they’re facing.
While the NDP is currently last in polling among the four parties, Andrade feels the party has a strong and motivated membership to build on.
She also has a goal of working with youth.
“I’m in this to win it,” she said. “I want to become premier of the province. This is a serious thing for me, and I believe it’s achievable. I think the Island is ready for a change.”
Andrade and Byrne have both stated that whether they’re elected as leader or not, they’ll be looking to run as candidates in the next provincial election.
Any leadership candidate must have his or her paperwork in – 25 signatures and $100 fee – 20 days prior to the April 7 convention. Any female candidates would have access to $1,000 for campaign expenses courtesy of the Hilda Ramsay Fund.