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Suffice to say, the leadership debates held to determine who will be crowned the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island have been some of the most interesting in a generation or more. I attended the final debate which took place at Murphy’s Centre in Charlottetown. To say that each of the candidates displayed strong leadership skills as well as ideas to make the Cradle of Confederation the best place to live and work in Canada would be a gross understatement.
Unfortunately, all – save for Dr. Kevin J. Arsenault – were silent on the issue of corruption. To be more specific, policies they had enacted to put a stop to the rampant corruption and nepotism that have become as much a part of P.E.I. life as Anne of Green Gables, lobsters, and beautiful sandy beaches.
The debate kicked off at approximately 7 p.m. Dr. Arsenault – the first speaker of the night – dove right into the heart of the matter. He spoke candidly about former P.E.I. premier Robert Ghiz as well as current premier Wade MacLauchlan, particularly with regards to the wholesome deletion of government records.
Over the course of the evening, Dr. Arsenault placed heavy emphasis on the remedies that are needed to fix our province’s broken political system. A Kevin Arsenault led government would install a recall system to get rid of delinquent MLAs as well as bring in stiff penalties for both elected officials and bureaucrats who betray the public trust. No other candidate has offered up these types of solutions.
It would be terribly defeatist to concede that there is nothing that can be done to eradicate this infestation of corruption that has embedded itself into almost every aspect of Island politics and business. While there are those who shrug their shoulders and agree, just as many Islanders have had enough and want change. Not just the usual lip service kind of change, but a true revolution that will permanently turn the tide of provincial politics.