Town hall style meetings with rural focus part of P.E.I. Green Party prep for next election

·2 min read
Susan Hartley, president of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, says the party will be much more prepared for the next election, scheduled for Oct. 2, 2023.   (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
Susan Hartley, president of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, says the party will be much more prepared for the next election, scheduled for Oct. 2, 2023. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

The Green Party is planning a series of town hall style meetings to help shape the party's policies and its next election platform.

The party is coming off a painful byelection loss in Cornwall-Meadowbank in November. Polls suggest the party is now in third place, behind the governing Progressive Conservative Party and the third party Liberals.

But Susan Hartley, president of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, says the party will be much more prepared for the next election, scheduled for Oct. 2, 2023.

Hartley points to fundraising efforts, candidate searches and grassroots policy development, which has been going on for the past year and a half.

The party plans to hold its annual meeting this spring.

'We did a really good byelection debrief'

Hartley says she takes the challenges facing the party as a motivator.

Sally MacDonald
Sally MacDonald

"We did a really good byelection debrief afterwards and we came out with a lot of recommendations for our general election readiness committee," said Hartley.

"For me the main one is communication and getting that message out. Our MLAs are doing great work that relates to people's everyday life but people don't necessarily see that and understand that."

The party had hoped to hold what they are calling "rural roundtables" in person.

But because of public health restrictions the first session, planned for Jan. 12, will be held online via Zoom.

'We can amplify those concerns'

Lynne Lund, MLA for Summerside-Wilmot and the party's deputy leader, said the roundtables will allow Green MLAs to hear from areas of the province they don't always get to hear from.

"We'll have an opportunity to hear what's important to people, what they would like to see prioritized and what issues we're struggling with," said Lund.

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

"We can amplify those concerns in the legislature, it can inform a platform moving forward, it can help us give policy positions for the party. Really, we are a party of grassroots and we want to know what people are thinking and we can't be working on issues if we're not hearing about them."

Party officials stress these discussions are for everybody, not just party members or supporters.

Those interested in taking part can sign up on the Green Party's website.

For those without a good internet connection, they can reach out to the party to find another way to take part.

'Issues that aren't always heard'

Hartley said the focus of the first sessions will be rural P.E.I.

The majority of P.E.I.'s Green MLAs were elected in urban districts.

"I think rural Islanders feel that there are specific issues that aren't always heard by our politicians and so we want to give them a voice," said Hartley.

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