October 31, 2017

Ready, Set, Go! My Announcement To Seek The Leadership Of The PC Party

On October 24th, 2017 I launched my campaign for Leader of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador at Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John's. My launch event was attended by great crowd of about 100 people. Thank you to those who attended and to those who cheered from home. I appreciate the support. Watch and read my speech below to discover why I decided to seek the leadership, my vision for Newfoundland and Labrador, and policy themes. 



Thank you for joining us on an important day – not just for me, my team and my family, but, I hope, for our party, our people and our province.

In my life, I’ve seen Newfoundland and Labrador during its best days, and its worst days. I’m here today because I believe our best days are still ahead.

This statement may surprise you. After all, our province is facing a financial crisis. And we’re facing a leadership crisis.

It’s a failure to listen, to choose, and to act. It’s a failure to govern.

But I’m confident that with the right leadership, the right team and the right plan, we can reclaim the future of this province we love. That’s why I invited you here to announce my candidacy for the leadership of the progressive conservative party of newfoundland and Labrador.

I know that this province can be a better place in which to live, with a brighter future;

A place where willing men and women get meaningful, well-paying jobs;

A place where families and vulnerable people have access to quality government services;

A place where government respects the dignity of indigenous people;

A place that unleashes the power of innovation to build a thriving rural and urban economy;

A place where entrepreneurship is encouraged and promoted;

And a place where young people have the confidence to claim fulfilling futures;

It starts with having the courage to take control of our financial destiny. And with your help, we will!

Now, people tell me I’m not a “charismatic” politician. But that’s not what this province needs.

I am a new face in politics – with new and innovative ways of doing things. I’m a listener. I’m a straight-shooter. I’m an outside-the-box problem-solver. I’m a forward-thinker. And when I’ve listened to every point of view, in collaboration with my caucus, I will make a decision and I will take action.

With your help, I can put this province on the path to confidence and economic success, and if given the privilege of leadership, I will!

My leadership platform focuses on three themes. First, rebuild our economy — second, restore confidence in government — and finally, revitalize that essential component of a vibrant democracy, the Progressive Conservative Party. 

Here’s how we can accomplish this challenge.

First, my leadership campaign will focus on rebuilding our economy. Under the failed liberal government, our economy continues to crater, jobs vanish, and families face punitive taxation.

But one issue rules the rest: our overspending problem. We are burdening the generations on which we depend for the future, with punitive taxes, and cuts without creativity. The liberal path is not the path to a prosperous future. It is the path to failure.

Overspending is a deep-set problem that requires deep-set change. Among the initiatives we need is a debt brake law. By capping the level of debt in relation to the size of the economy, debt brake laws prevent unsustainable spending over an economic cycle.

A debt brake law makes sustainability of debt fundamental to fiscal policy. More important, it ensures economic stability for our families and our future. It reassures entrepreneurs at home and abroad that Newfoundland and Labrador has the fiscal stability to do business.

Second, my campaign will focus on restoring confidence in government.

We have too many “pandering, power-seeking politicians with popular platform promises” – who break those promises after they’re elected. So, the public loses confidence in the very institutions of democratic governance we have paid a price in blood and treasure to build and protect.

Solemn promises made by politicians which the public takes as reliable, should also be enforceable – in law.

The legislature should stand up for honesty with an honesty in politics law. This, and other pro-democracy innovations, can help transform our politics. The details of an honesty in politics law will develop through democratic debate. I like a low threshold of proof, enforceable in the courts, but an honesty in politics act with teeth and deterrence value we must have.

Lastly, my leadership campaign will focus on revitalizing the PC Party, an institution of our democratic tradition with a distinguished history of building our province up, opposing failed governments, and guiding this province to a brighter tomorrow.

The first duty of the official opposition is to oppose, in a sustained critique that can force a failed government from office. But the second – and more important – duty is to project confidence to the public as a competent government-in-waiting.

If you share my vision for a vigorous public life in this home of ours, stir yourselves to public action. This starts with taking out your membership in the PC Party if you have not already done so.

Today, I offer my party and my beloved province a cool head, a firm hand, and a heart that’s passionate about making Newfoundland & Labrador the place where our children and grandchildren will find a home – and a future. Thank you.