Peter Bevan-Baker kicks off election with speech at New London nomination meeting

Tuesday evening as Green Party candidates and supporters gathered to nominate the two newest members of their team in District 18 (Rustico-Emerald) and 20 (Kensington-Malpeque) at the New London Community Complex, party leader Peter Bevan-Baker inspired the large crowd gathered for the double nomination meeting as during the meeting it was learned that the election was called for April 23rd.

"This is a truly momentous evening," said Bevan-Baker. "It is one of those evenings that you may actually remember for years and tell your grandchildren where you were the night the writ was dropped for the 2019 PEI election.  I know that sounds uncharacteristically boastful, but this could be a truly historic moment not only in Canadian politics but for the future of our grandchildren."

"The truth is that we don’t need more politicians, we need better leaders: candidates with vision, compassion and a commitment to public service.  And as I look around this room tonight I see those future leaders ready and waiting."

The full text of Bevan-Baker's speech is included below.

Party members nominated Colin Jeffrey as the Green Party candidate for District 18, and Matthew J MacKay as their candidate in District 20.

Colin Jeffrey's passion for sustainable and healthy communities is complimented by his diverse studies and work experience. Studies in music and environmental issues led Jeffrey to a strong background in volunteerism. Locally he has been involved with the Brackley-Covehead and Wheatley River watershed improvement groups before becoming Director in 2014 of the Trout River Environmental Committee (TREC) based in Stanley Bridge. As Director of TREC, Colin has enjoyed the opportunity to engage with residents across its management area in learning about the local environment and finding innovative ways to be more sustainable.

“I am motivated to seek to improve the health and well being of PEI’s rural communities by encouraging innovative opportunities and solutions that combine long-term sustainability with the ingenuity of islanders. I have a passion for developing local solutions to the pressing social and environmental issues of our day and believe that as MLA for District 18 I could help its residents develop innovative ways to increase the health, resilience and vibrancy of their communities.” says Jeffrey.

Colin is also an enthusiastic sailor, cyclist and cross-country skier who hopes to create more opportunities for District 18 residents to enjoy our beautiful landscape through active recreation.

Matthew J. MacKay grew up in Stanley Bridge on a small family farm and tourism business and understands the importance of agriculture and tourism to the Island economy. He attended the one-room schoolhouse in the community in Stanley Bridge for eight grades, before attending High School in Kensington. Matthew earned an MA in Communications and among his many careers has been a graphic designer on PEI for many years.

MacKay states, “I'm a baby boomer- part of that fortunate generation that was given so much opportunity, Working with the Greens is a way to pay forward the advantages I've had. PEI is at a tipping point financially, economically, and sociologically. Green policy is a rational and positive approach to building a self-sufficient province where all of us can live a good, full life in fairness and compassion.”

His hobbies involve the outdoors. An avid runner and six-time marathoner, and resides in Seaview with his wife, Ann, of thirty-nine years.

The nominations bring to 21 the total number of Green candidates officially nominated across the province. Candidates in the remaining 6 districts will be nominated within the next few days, including at nomination meetings in Tignish on March 27th and at Milton Hall on March 28th.

Full Text of Peter Bevan-Baker's Speech

This is a truly momentous evening.  It is one of those evenings that you may actually remember for years and tell your grandchildren where you were the night the writ was dropped for the 2019 PEI election.  I know that sounds uncharacteristically boastful, but this could be a truly historic moment not only in Canadian politics but for the future of our grandchildren.

Tonight with the drop of the writ, I honestly believe that against all odds, the Green Party could make history and form the next government of PEI.

I expect most people in this room find that idea both incredibly exciting and equally terrifying.  Yet I can stand here and say with confidence, I believe we are ready. We are ready to bring a new vision and commitment to public service; to Island politics.  And it is all based on a belief that if we dare to imagine something better, we can make it a reality. So what is this something better, what can we collectively imagine.

I imagine a government with the courage to tackle the difficult problems like climate change and poverty.

I imagine strong, vibrant rural communities with local access to health care, education, and recreational and retail opportunities.

I imagine defining success beyond the economy, but by measuring the wellbeing of Islanders--all Islanders.

I imagine your government putting the needs of everyday Islanders first and being held to account by strong independent oversight.

I imagine a green energy economy where we create good jobs in the industries of the future whilst protecting that future for our grandchildren.

But mostly we can imagine a better future together.  It will require not only imagination, but also innovation, and embracing new beliefs.  It won’t be like the past, but it can be so much better.

Over the next few weeks, we will be knocking on doors and listening and  learning what all Islanders imagine when they imagine something better. And that knowledge will lead us, guide us and truly inspire us.

I was being somewhat cheeky earlier when I suggested that you would be regaling your grandchildren with tales of this evening, however, in all seriousness I believe more than anything else this election will be about the world we want to leave our children and grandchildren.

For years we have seen the effects of ping-pong politics where each of the two traditional parties “get their turn.”  Those days are gone. It is time for everyday Islanders to “get their turn”, it is time for the weak and the vulnerable and everyone who has been left behind by an economy on a tear “to get their turn”.  It is time for future generations to “get their turn” and not be forced to live on a planet stripped bare by our short-sightedness.

Last summer I was interviewed on Power and Politics and I was asked whether I believed Islanders would actually vote for change after so many years of Liberal and Tory government.  Would they have the courage to elect a Green government, and I said that I believe when Islanders enter the voting booth, they will vote not as their grandparents would want them to vote, but as their grandchildren would want them to vote.  

In that past four years in the legislature I have had a lot of opportunity to view the working of politics as well as the work of governing.

Politics and governing are two different things, but because politicians and the media often treat them as the same it has become harder to distinguish the two.

Ultimately politics is about playing the game and winning.  Politics is ignoring fixed date elections for your own advantage.  Politics is accumulating massive budget surpluses so you can be Santa Claus when an election rolls around.  Politics is about telling people what they want to hear rather than what needs to be said.

In politics, long-term vision is limited to a four year election window.  Decisions are based on whether people will remember or care by the next election, which is why voters see an HST hike that was never mentioned during the election campaign being imposed in year one and an illogical and unsustainable drop in gas taxes immediately before an election.

Governing is so much more difficult.   It means you must be willing and able to address the wicked problems: the long term issues that defy simple solutions such as poverty, climate change, inequality, wellness. In politics you are always tempted to kick these issues down the road, slapping band-aids on to staunch the bleeding until after the next election.  

To truly govern one needs to consider the long-term needs of all Islanders.  For example, we have a very small window to address the issue of climate change and it takes a leader and not just a politician to honestly address that crisis regardless of where they are in the election cycle.

The truth is that we don’t need more politicians, we need better leaders: candidates with vision, compassion and a commitment to public service.  And as I look around this room tonight I see those future leaders ready and waiting.

I am so proud to stand here tonight, on the cusp of something extraordinary.  I am so proud of every person in this room. We have all worked hard to bring the party where it is today, and by all, I mean everyone.  Those who have worked quietly (or noisily) in the background, those who have served any number and often multiple roles on Council and Shadow Cabinet, those who have been strong and brave enough to come forward as candidates, and all the volunteers in the room today who keep the machinery running. All of you have contributed to this opportunity and together we have sparked the imagination and brought the courage needed to build a better future together.