Coming out of a leadership review and heading into a provincial election, Bernice Hancock said the New Democratic Party has to keep doing what it has been on the west coast — and that is spreading the message that it is the party of the people.
“I believe New Democrat values are values of the people,” said Hancock, the western representative on the party executive. “They’re good values. We have good ideas. Good ways of doing things and we’ll move forward from here.”
Hancock was elected to the position during the party’s convention held over the long weekend in St. John’s.
She ran for the NDP in St. George’s-Stephenville East in 2011. She said since that time growth of the party on the west coast has been steady.
And when she looks at the other two parties her view that the NDP is the party of the people is strengthened.
Hancock said she really questions the actions of the Conservative party on things like Muskrat Falls, Bill 29, fracking and budget cuts.
“And now they have another millionaire as their leader with ultra-conservative values.
“I really see that. And already coming in with some questions with regard to anti-abortion, with regard to the paving deal,” she said.
“And we look at the Liberals and we see a party that’s really prepared. They’re coming up in the polls and prepared to take anybody and I’m just wondering what are their views on a number of issues.”
To her it seems to be a “mishmash” of everything.
With an election expected within the year, Hancock said the NDP will keep plugging away.
“For us, it’s to keep going and for people to see us really addressing the issues of the people,” she said.
It’s also going to mean finding candidates to run in the election.
“We do have a number of candidates that have indicated their interest or who have confirmed,” she said.
For right now, though, going public is a little difficult for some because of work situations.
But Hancock said the people identified are strong candidates, well-known in a number of districts and she’s not ruling out being one them herself.
Until the election call comes, Hancock said the party will be firming up its district associations on the west coast and doing some fundraising. There’s currently district associations in St. George’s-Stephenville East and Port au Port and another in the St. Barbe area. She said there is also work being done in the Corner Brook area.
As for the recent convention, Hancock disagrees with those who question the outcome of the leadership review that reaffirmed the party’s support for Lorraine Michael.
“In terms of my own view where we need to go, I was glad to see that Lorraine was given the support of certainly more that two thirds, 75 per cent of the delegates that were there, which I think was a good representation of the party,” she said.