Interim PC Leader Jamie Fox, party president Pat Banks and PC youth leader Brendan Curran took part in the party AGM Saturday where it was announced the PC leadership convention will be held in fall 2017.
The Progressive Conservative party will hold its leadership convention in the fall of 2017.
Party president Pat Banks made this announcement at the party’s annual general meeting Saturday afternoon in Charlottetown.
Banks said this time frame was chosen because it gives the party a full year to identify candidates and organize a leadership convention while also allowing the next leader plenty of time to build support ahead of the 2019 election.
“We also looked at the roadmap plan that the party has developed so that we do have a foundation for the base of the party before we go out for a leadership convention,” Banks said.
This roadmap was presented to the 80 members present at the AGM Saturday. It is a comprehensive plan with specific goals and benchmarks the party aims to achieve on the way to a leadership convention and, after that, to the next election.
One of those goals – to release the party’s election platform “well ahead” of the next election so the public knows what the party stands for, Banks said.
“We simply cannot continue to do business the way we have in the past,” he said.
“The bottom line is with these changes is that we have to better engage more effectively with individuals and not just during the writ period, but day in, day out, week in, week out, month in, month out.”
He stressed the need for building more base support in urban areas and more gender balance, both within the party membership and in attracting and nominating candidates.
Greater youth involvement is also “an absolute necessity” to help build excitement and energy, Banks said.
Brendan Curran is the leader of the PC Youth association.
He believes young Islanders could be attracted to the party if they can be shown it helps give them a greater voice.
“People don’t give young people enough credit and we’re smarter then some people give us credit for,” he said.
He and others acknowledged that younger voters are more inclined to vote for issues or individuals, rather than political parties.
Curran says he hopes to convince those young Islanders that his party helps to frame those issues in a greater organization that he believes promotes an ideology that Islanders can get behind.
“Young people like that this party stands up for the average taxpayer, the person who just goes to work and pays the bills.”
Four of seven proposed changes to the party’s constitution were defeated during the meeting Saturday, including one that would have made members of the provincial executive sign a confidentiality agreement.
MLA Steven Myers strongly opposed this change.
“We really don’t want to be a party of secrets,” he said.
“It implies we have a reason not to trust each other and we need to be together as a party.”
This proposed change was defeated as was another that would have disallowed interim leaders from running for permanent leadership within a year of a leadership convention. The current limit of 180 days will remain.
Meanwhile, Banks says work has already begun in trying to identify leadership candidates both within the eight-member Opposition caucus and in the public.
“What we want is the next premier of this province,” Banks said.
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