By Drake Lowthers
March 2, 2015
With nearly 3,000 votes being cast, Rob Lantz defeated James Aylward and Darlene Compton to become the new leader of the Progressive Conservative party during a leadership convention in Charlottetown on Feb. 28.
Lantz was ushered into the convention by an army of his supporters.
He will replace the party’s interim leader Steven Myers.
In his acceptance speech Lantz said the priorities of his government would be integrity, communities and economy.
“To me integrity is being able to look myself in the mirror and you, the people of this province in the eye, and know that the decisions that we make, were made for the good of the people of this province.”
Lantz said the leadership candidates may have differed on the question of who should lead the party, but are one on the question of which party should lead this province.
Starting Monday morning Lantz’s government will mobilize district-to-district, poll-by-poll returning the province to the responsible and caring government that it deserves, he said.
“Under my government, under my leadership we will work to immediately establish a new standard of ethics and strengthen conflict of interest guidelines to restore integrity to public office.”
Lantz campaigned on the need for unity in the party and this is now the time for that unity, he said.
“First and foremost we are a family. Families can have disagreements but families find ways to resolve those differences and present a united front. They find a way to stay together. We will stand together.”
Lantz said he will offer a new direction and a positive alternative to the tired government of today.
The province is at a turning point in P.E.I. politics stemming from fiscal pressures and demographical challenges, said Lantz.
“We must be open to new ideas and willing to imbrace change. It’s time for a new direction.”
Lantz said he was a realist and that the province has serious problems.
“We have been left with a debt that our children and grandchildren will spend their lives paying for.”
Patrick Dunlop, a 57-year-old Tyne Valley resident, said he’s looking forward to moving in a new direction on P.E.I.
Dunlop has been a Progressive Conservative for as long as he can remember.
“Rob Lantz could be the guy who brings the Island out of this hole our current government has dug us into.”
Dunlop said he has seen multiple governments say one thing during an election race but not acting on it, once elected.
He believes Lantz’s government would be as transparent as possible.
“Lantz doesn’t have all the answers, no one does, but it seems as though he’s willing to ask the tough questions when needed.”
Seven days prior to the PC leadership convention the Liberals hosted their own appointing an uncontested Wade MacLauchlan as their new leader and premier taking over for Robert Ghiz.
Lantz said their opponents don’t think they’re ready and now is the time to strike and claim another four years of government for themselves.
“They are wrong. The PC party is alive and well.”
The PC party will unveil a strong platform built by the grassroots and with the help of Lantz’s fellow candidates, Aylward and Compton, he said.
“Together we can build a better P.E.I. and as Darlene has been telling us, ‘We’re small enough to create our own destiny. And big enough to make it happen.’”