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P.E.I. PC Leader Dennis King delivers impassioned speech as election writ drops

Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King, centre, kicked off the 2019 election campaign Tuesday night by attending the District 10 Charlottetown-Winsloe and District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park nomination meetings, won by Mike Gillis, left, and Tim Keizer, respectively.
Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King, centre, kicked off the 2019 election campaign Tuesday night by attending the District 10 Charlottetown-Winsloe and District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park nomination meetings, won by Mike Gillis, left, and Tim Keizer, respectively. - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King is vowing to win the next election and keep his party’s promises.

“If we don’t do it . . . , kick us the hell out because we don’t deserve to be there,’’ King said loudly, slamming his hand on the podium to emphasize his point.

The hall, which was jam-packed, erupted in cheers.

King was the guest speaker at the District 10 Charlottetown-Winsloe and District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park meeting where Mike Gillis and Tim Keizer won, respectively.

As King spoke at meeting, which was held at St. Peter’s Cathedral church hall in Charlottetown, just up the street Premier Wade MacLauchlan dropped the writ to officially kick off the 2019 general election.

King vowed to win the April 23 election by focusing on the people of Prince Edward Island, promising to be held accountable in four years if the Tories fail to do so.

King jumped into the leadership race on Nov. 1, admitting that it has been quite the learning experience.

“We’ve been running the roads every day, and it’s been the most rewarding experience of my life. It’s been busy, it’s been tiresome, it’s been frustrating, and I wouldn’t change it for a second.’’

Speaking to the party faithful on Tuesday evening, King talked a lot about the team that he has assembled, people who care and have heart. He also applauded the eight Progressive Conservative MLAs “who have carried the torch for this party’’ for the last four years in the legislature.

“If we don’t do it . . . , kick us the hell out because we don’t deserve to be there.’’
-Dennis King

But King mostly wanted to talk about what his party will focus on — people.

“That’s not really a political slogan, it’s the mantra of which we live by and the mantra to which our government should live by.’’

King talked about balancing the budget and making the economy strong, adding “but the economy only works when everybody gets a piece of it, when everybody feels part of it and that’s the problem that I have right now. Right now, too many people from tip to tip are telling me they’re not part of the progress, they’re not part of the good times so we have to offer something different.’’

The PC leader said they have momentum on their side, talking about packed hall after packed hall for various nomination meetings on top of the 4,222 Islanders who voted at the leadership convention on Feb. 9, making it “the largest convention in the history of this province’’.

King said the best piece of advice he has received since jumping into the race came from a man he used to work for, former premier Pat Binns.

“He was my mentor and he told me two things — be yourself (and) look after the little people and the little people will look after you. That’s the motto of this party. It’s about the people.’’

King also vows to bring an end to divisive politics, saying that no matter how negative the other parties get in this campaign, his party will take the high road every time.

“I’m sick and tired of the divisiveness in politics,” said King, pausing to emphasize every word. “It’s sickening and it’s time to end it. We’re going to spend this campaign talking about what we can do to make the lives of Islanders better.’’

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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