Dear Editor: As the clock ticks down the weeks and months before the next provincial election there are people across our province looking for answers from all political parties on why they should cast their vote for one or the other.
In fact it would be remiss for me not to acknowledge that looking for a change in government also means you must know what options exist for choosing change. The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador is in a position to be that change.
People are asking us what our policies are and what we stand for. Some are saying that perhaps we’re holding our cards to our chest, afraid of showing our hand too soon. The thing is we’re not afraid of being open and accountable.
We’ve already developed comprehensive policies and ideas that are a result of countless hours of conversations at kitchen tables, community wharfs and summer festivals.
Right now, we’re collaborating with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, creating a comprehensive plan that addresses the concerns and interests of people all across the province. We’re more interested in that work right now than rolling out a Red Book, months ahead of a general election call.
When the work is done, we will deliver a policy platform that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians deserve. First and foremost is restoring accountability and transparency to government. A Liberal government will repeal Bill 29 and start fresh with new legislation outlining the democratic principles a government should stand behind.
Even now there are policy issues that Liberals are addressing publicly. We will develop a new energy plan that looks at all energy resources, including offshore natural gas, wind power, small hydro and other alternatives. We will look at exploration off Labrador, the north coast of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Our provincial energy plan should reflect changes in the energy markets, and address energy security and conservation.
We are wholly committed to improving health care, and are currently in the process of developing a new and aggressive strategy that will include input from our frontline workers. They know the system. They can help fix it.
We will work with communities to develop a long-term plan to upgrade infrastructure and improve our transportation system. We’ll hold an annual Premier’s Forum for Municipalities. Municipalities deserve more attention, and a Liberal government will give it to them.
We’ll introduce economic development strategies in our rural communities that will include a plan for youth employment, including community leaders as collaborators to advise on the best use of public tax dollars. We’ll appoint a group of driven and innovative people to create a diversification strategy for our economy, helping to reduce our heavy reliance on non-renewable oil revenues.
Our greatest resource is our people and only by listening to to our people and collaborating with them can we achieve more. We have released and will continue to release policies only after effective and meaningful consultation that acts in the best interest of our people.
The right thing to do is to listen to the people and then act in their best interest and that’s exactly what we’re doing. When it’s released, the Red Book will be the people’s book. They’re the ones writing it.
Dwight Ball, leader of the Official Opposition