Extra chairs needed for NDP leadership debate
NDP organizers on P.E.I. are pleased by the turnout at a provincial leadership debate in Cornwall Wednesday night.
About 70 people turned up to listen to what the two candidates, Mike Redmond and Trevor Leclerc, had to say.
The event was more a friendly discussion than a debate, with Redmond and Leclerc exchanging more points of agreement than barbs.
"That is the way I approached my campaign," said Leclerc at one point, "and I think it's the way Mike has approached his campaign."
The candidates took questions from the audience on topics such as health care, rural development, the controversial Trans-Canada Highway realignment plan, and the HST.
Neither candidate appeared to believe money was the big issue, but that it was more about the choices government was making.
"I think we have the money," said Redmond.
"We just need to decide as a province where we want our money to be spent."
"We are going to open up and see what the real status of things are," said Leclerc.
"And we will say, this is how much we have and these are the New Democratic priorities."
Party president Andrew Want called the night a success, and another good sign for a party that's seen a jump in membership and polling numbers since the spring.
"We actually had to get extra chairs out, so we're pretty pleased that people are listening to what our messages are," said Want.
The NDP has only ever elected one MLA on P.E.I. Dr. Herb Dickieson represented a district in West Prince from 1996 to 2000.
Party members will elect a new leader on Oct. 13 in Charlottetown, well ahead of the 2015 provincial election.