PEI

Andrew Scheer aiming for Conservative breakthrough on P.E.I.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is on P.E.I. this weekend and it could feel like unfriendly territory, with the Island only having elected one Conservative MP since 1988.

Federal Conservative leader visiting P.E.I. talking with premier, voters

Some of the things Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he plans to discuss with P.E.I. Premier Dennis King challenges in the fishing industry, environmental problems and increasing health care funding. (Don Somers/CBC)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is on P.E.I. this weekend and it could feel like unfriendly territory, with the Island only having elected one Conservative MP since 1988.

With a federal election in October MPs and candidates are busy getting out to meet with voters on the Island, including Scheer.

In the last federal election all 32 seats in Atlantic Canada were won by the Liberals.

As he prepared to leave for the Island from New Brunswick Friday, Scheer told Island Morning he hopes his party will do better this time around.

"We obviously didn't have a message that connected. We didn't spend enough time talking about our positive policies," Scheer said.

Scheer said his party has learned a lot since the 2015 election.

"My job now is to take our platform that will be coming out during the campaign and make sure it communicated and that it resonates with people all over Canada," he said.

Seasonal workers

Scheer said seasonal jobs are important to P.E.I.'s economy. 

"We need to have programs in place that are flexible, that do take into account the realities on the ground while at the same time looking for ways to encourage people to be able to be matched with available work," he said.

Scheer said he wants to listen to Islanders affected by the duel zone EI system.

P.E.I. has been split into two zones since 2014. The switch, depending on where you live means you may have to work more hours to qualify for EI benefits than before the change.

"Every region, every province in this country can have multiple different types of regions. You know, not all of the Island is the same. There are different challenges right In Charlottetown than there is in some of the outlying communities," Scheer said.

Decentralized approach

Scheer was critical of what he called the Liberal's centralized approach to government. He said a Conservative government would have a different approach.

"Having a more decentralized approach that recognizes the regional differences, the fact we are a very large spread out over an entire continent with very rural and remote communities throughout," he said.

Scheer said the Liberal government comes up with national policies and applies them across the country, and that doesn't work.

Scheer said while he is on the Island he will meet with premier Dennis King to hear "what his priorities are."

Some of the things they plan to discuss are challenges in the fishing industry, tackling environmental problems and increasing health care funding.

"I want him to know a Conservative government will only ever increase those health transfers by at least four per cent," he said.

He is also going to talk about Confederation Bridge tolls, Scheer said he knows there are issues with affordability when it comes to getting off the Island.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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