P.E.I. NDP elect Mike Redmond as party leader
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair on hand for leadership convention
The P.E.I. New Democratic Party elected Mike Redmond as the new leader of the provincial party Saturday afternoon in a landslide vote.
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is on P.E.I. this weekend for the provincial party's leadership convention.
Two people were in the running for Saturday's vote.
Redmond, facility director at the Murphy's Community Centre in Charlottetown, beat Trevor Leclerc, who stepped down as chair of AIDS PEI to run for the leadership, in a landslide vote of 152 to 28.
The NDP has not had much electoral success on P.E.I. but Redmond said he is optimistic that can change.
"We're going to make a difference," he said, "one day at a time, one project at a time, one cause at a time, but we are going to do it together. And we're going to form government in 2015."
Leclerc said he will focus on boosting party support both federally and provincially.
Provincially, there has only ever been one MLA, elected to a West Prince district in 1996, and federally the best the party has ever done is a second place finish in the old riding of Hillsborough in 1997.
The party is looking to change that trend starting with its leadership convention this weekend.
Andrew Want, NDP party president on the Island, hopes the presence of Mulcair, who spoke at the convention and at a fundraising dinner Saturday night, will jump start a new era for the party.
"With regards to numbers attending the convention, we have over 400 members now, so it's difficult to say for sure. I would be surprised if every single member was able to make it there," said Want.
"But obviously we're optimistic that we're going to get a good turnout."
With three more years to go until the next election, Redmond said the party will need to mobilize its base.
"On a go-forward basis, we are looking for the party to get re-engaged, to build the membership and prepare ourselves for the next election."