Positive politics – let’s do this!

As I spend my time speaking with PC Party members and others outside of the party about the kind of PC leader they would like to see, I hear it over and over again.

People are tired of politicians who just tear down the other side.

They want to hear positive solutions.

They want to hear support for good ideas, even if it comes from a different political party.

We should start that in this PC leadership race. Needless to say, it shouldn’t be hard to say good things about fellow Progressive Conservatives.

I admire the energy and drive that Pictou East MLA Tim Houston is bringing to his campaign for the PC Party leadership.

I respect the integrity and sincerity Kings North MLA John Lohr exudes as he meets with party members through his deliberations on whether to seek the leadership.

I would welcome Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke bringing his considerable experience from the provincial and municipal orders of government to the campaign trail.

I hope there are even more candidates who decide to offer themselves for the PC leadership. It was great to speak this past week with at least two other Progressive Conservatives who are thinking about running (I asked them if I could share their names, but in fairness to them, it’s their decision and their news to share).

As I mentioned in last week’s post, having choice and competition is good. It’s good in the marketplace. It’s good in a political party.

Everyone will have their own timetable on deciding whether to run for the PC leadership, based on their own circumstances. I won’t criticize or question the motives of those who have moved quickly in this process. Hopefully, the same courtesy will be extended to individuals whom other Progressive Conservatives feel have something to contribute to the leadership selection process.

Another positive aspect worth celebrating in this leadership race is having Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont and former provincial campaign chair Tara Erskine co-chair the leadership selection process.

Tara and Chris are smart, strong, independent and focused on doing what’s right for our party. Regardless of whether I agree with the recommendation they end up bringing forward on the method and timing of the leadership vote, I will respect it.

Having served as co-chair of the 2006 PC leadership selection process with then-MLA Judy Streatch, I know first-hand that the job Chris and Tara now have is often thankless and subject to criticism and second-guessing. I don’t envy the position they are in, but Progressive Conservatives should be grateful that they agreed to take it on.

Over the last two weeks, people have shared with me lots of positive ideas on how to build a better PC Party. They share my belief that the strong foundation in place now is a foundation for change, not a foundation for the status quo. After five elections under three different leaders in which the PC Party was unable to form a majority government, one of the most important jobs of the next Progressive Conservative leader is to work with our MLAs, other party members and Nova Scotians to develop a positive agenda for our province to become an economic, social and environmental leader. This agenda must be clear, realistic and well communicated to Nova Scotians well before the next election, so that we can earn the support of enough voters to form a majority government.

What are some of the positive changes you want to see from the next Progressive Conservative leader?