Lib­er­als not afraid of be­ing open and ac­count­able

The Compass - - OPINION - BY DWIGHT BALL

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 of 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 is the leader of the

Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion.

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