Interview with Allan Dale, P.E.I. Progressive Conservative leadership candidate
TPM is sitting down with all five people seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island.
Our second interview is with Allan Dale.
Allan Dale grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but left at an early age to join the Canadian Navy.
Allan spent his 30 year long naval career in both active and reserve service.
Allan boasts an impressive resume including being an engineer, a trained chef, and running his own engineering firm out of Charlottetown.
For the past few years, he has been Director of Industry Partnerships at the UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering. Allan believes that his lifetime of service leadership makes him uniquely equipped for governing a public that’s looking for a new direction for PEI.
Being a newcomer to the party, entirely new to politics, he believes that a vote for him is a vote for a clean slate and a fresh perspective.
We asked him about what he believes, what the biggest issues are, and how he plans to shake things up on PEI.
TPM: How would you summarize your politics?
AD: For me, politics is about serving people, point finale. And politics is no different than military service from my particular point of view. It’s about putting others well before yourself and politically, to me, that means that we need to create a government that’s responsive to people and respectful of people. That’s what service is in essence. So if I were to summarize how I would see my political position, it is one of service, it is one of creating a responsive government, and genuinely acts in people’s best interests.
TPM: What exactly does it mean to be a Progressive Conservative?
AD: I think that we need to create a party here that’s forward thinking but then respects where we’ve come from as a country and as a province. That, in essence, is leadership, that is taking new creative thoughts like this very place that we’re in right now [UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering] but fusing those thoughts with things that we’ve done in the past to learn from our mistakes, to build off of successes from the past so it’s fusing those two things together. That’s what it means to me to be a Progressive Conservative.
TPM: What do you feel are the biggest issues you’re encountering and how would you address those specific issues?
AD: From what I’m hearing tip to tip on this island, people genuinely feel disconnected from the political process. We can divide that up however, we can call it a generational issue, we can call it a cultural issue, we can call it a geographical issue.
It doesn’t matter how you slice it, people feel disconnected. They don’t feel their voices are being heard. Whether you’re in Souris or in Charlottetown, people don’t feel that the political system is responding to them. This is why we need to get back on track, we need to emerge from this leadership as a party that not only listens to people but acts on their behalf. We need to be decisive and fast-moving party that sees real problems for real people.
TPM: What should be the position PEI has relative to the rest of Canada?
AD: PEI is a very unique little province within Canada. 150,000 people, not very big, but we can be a beacon to Canada on so many fronts.
When the PC party moves into power and we show the rest of Canada how a government truly interact with their community, how a government truly celebrates and supports their industry, and how a government embraces their academic partners to move the whole island forward.
We can be a global beacon in governance and in so many industries already emerging such as renewable energy.
This is where we need to position ourselves. We need to look 15 years over the horizon and ask where does this island want to be? Islanders are craving somebody to give us a path to the future. The type of visioning I’m talking about cannot happen in a province the size of Ontario, but it can happen here and we should embrace that and be a leader within Canada.
TPM: So how would your leadership ensure that the PCs win the next election?
AD: I know islanders are craving change there’s no doubt about that. Islanders do not warm to politicians anymore, people are tired of the same old same old style of politics, same old, same old rhetoric over and over again.
My leadership is something new, my leadership is something fresh, my leadership is indeed a clean slate, but my leadership is grounded in a sense of true duty, service, honour, and respect. That has been bred in me from my very first moment in the navy that’s what I believe in I truly believe that others must come before ourselves point finale.
What I’m offering is a different style of leadership. It is not an authoritative style, if anything, it is much more collaborative but make no mistake about it I am a decisive man. I will move and I will move boldly and rapidly to position this province as a global leader.
We’re in 2018, rolling into 2019, at the end of the day we have to be collaborative in policy development. Leaders can’t generate the policy, neither can the policy trickle to the top and be pushed around amongst apartments to be pushed back. It’s too slow, it’s not responsive, it doesn’t resonate with people that’s why people are looking for different political systems. When so many feel government doesn’t listen to them our way to win is to be the party that creates the policies that most reflect ordinary concerns.
TPM: How would you put trust back into the political system?
AD: The only way to build trust back into our political system and into our political parties is by leading by example.
We, as politicians and as a political party, prove to people that we are there for them, not for us, we are truly and genuinely believing in service before self.
Those three words are the basis of everything that I’m bringing to the table, everything that I’m bringing to this political party and everything I’ll bring as Premier will be service before self.
That’s how you build trust. When people understand that you are genuinely there for them trust starts to come back and until we have trust all this is for naught. We can keep on governance issues and policy issues but until we have trust all this is for naught.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, 2019 was an unusually bad year in Atlantic Canada for accidents such as drownings and house fires.
The organization notes that residential fires have claimed the lives of at least 24 people in 2019 across the Atlantic provinces.
CTV reported that Nova Scotia saw at least twelve deaths due to fire-related incidents, while New Brunswick saw nine. Both P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador had two fire-related deaths
A single house fire in Halifax claimed the lives of seven children in February. They were children in a family of immigrants who moved to Canada from Syria.
In 2019, Atlantic Canada had about 34 deaths that were water-related. One of the incidents took the lives of seven men who crash landed into a lake while flying in a float plane last July. The plane was on route to a fishing lodge in Labrador.
Apart from the plane crash, Newfoundland and Labrador saw at least eight more water-related deaths in 2019
There were 14 reported water-related deaths in Nova Scotia, P.E.I saw four and New Brunswick saw one.
With the PEI Progressive Conservative Party Leadership race well under way The Post Millennial is taking the opportunity to sit down with all the candidates.
PEI politics is often overlooked by the national spotlights, so with five diverse candidates looking to take the position of leader of the opposition we thought they should be getting more attention. In this series we will be interviewing all five people vying to be leader of the PCs and the hopeful Premier of PEI.
Shawn Driscoll is a 34-year old former staffer and candidate. Originally from Charlottetown, he first entered politics while studying Political Science at Dalhousie University. First as a member of the Dal Campus Conservative Club and later as an intern for the Conservative Party.
After his internship he took a job as a staffer for former PEI MP and Minister of Fisheries Gail Shea. After Gail lost her seat in the 2015 election, Shawn took his own step into politics, unsuccessfully running for a seat in the provincial legislature.
Since 2015 he’s worked for the PC Party of Nova Scotia and sat on the PEI PC Party executive.
When I asked him what motivated him to run for PC Leadership he said “I was always looking at the party from the inside, and I always liked what this party stands for. I was looking to run again in the next election in West Royalty, but when James said he was stepping down and no candidates were coming forward I thought that I’m young and life is short so why not take the chance.”
I asked him a few questions about what he believes and what he would do as leader and premier if elected.
PLOYER: How would you summarize your political position?
DRISCOLL: I would say I’m a Conservative. That’s the reason why I got into the race.
I find that the party’s been its most recognizable when we stick to our values and principles. We look to lower taxes, less government, and to support families. Sounds pretty run of the mill but it works.
It’s basic, but it’s why we have a lot to offer islanders. When the next election is called islanders will want change and we can’t be the same as Liberals or the Greens or else we’ll lose.
PLOYER: What are your thoughts on “outmigration”, having to leave PEI for work elsewhere?
DRISCOLL: I’ve experienced it myself firsthand when your friends or family have to leave the island for opportunity, that’s reality for most people, not just the young.
We talk about younger people but it hits all age groups. I got two brothers that live out West and have to travel back and forth. I know a lot of people I graduated high school with in the same situation.
No one can eliminate that 100%, you know, but I’m going to try my best to limit the need for that. I think I come from a unique opportunity because I’ve actually experienced it myself.
One of my main focuses is making sure people who want to live here can work here, raise a family here, and make life better on PEI.
PLOYER: What do you think it means exactly be Progressive Conservative?
DRISCOLL: Well Premier Angus MacLean had the 10 principles, which I agree with. I think we have to be fiscally conservative and socially progressive.
I know for Conservatives there’s this taboo with environment but I don’t see that, I believe we [PCs] have been good stewards of the environment, and I think as opposed to the Green Party for us it means less government and a more scientific approach.
PLOYER: So what do you feel are the biggest issues faced by islanders and how would you address them as a leader?
DRISCOLL: Well it depends on what area you live in. In Charlottetown it could be transit, when you get out into the rural areas it’s doctors.
I think that as a leader you want to be able to take positions on those areas of need, not put your finger up and see which way the wind is blowing.
Unlike this Premier you have to lead bottom-up and listen to people on the ground, and then be comfortable making the final decision and going forward on it. You have the interests of all islanders in mind.
This current Premier came in talking about transparency and accountability and he’s been not transparent or accountable. What the people are getting at is a mistrust of their government.
PLOYER: How would you address situation of rural Islanders today?
DRISCOLL: I would say that the the roots of the tree come from rural PEI, so all the growth of the province can’t be in Charlottetown or Summerside.
We have a 2.5 billion dollars debt with a 100 million dollar servicing of that debt. We’re not Nova Scotia or New Brunswick we don’t have the same natural resources, we don’t have natural gas.
Our farmers and our fisheries have to play a critical role so I think if we have to support those industries and work with communities and schools to make sure we’re geared for success.
PLOYER:You recently raised some concerns about another candidate. You’re worried there may be some problems within the party? How would you address them?
DRISCOLL: I have a great respect for all candidates in this race and our party. I want to be clear though – I believe there are definitely issues within our party.
We have seen seven Leaders, 13 Chiefs of Staff after 12 years out of government, and where are we? Sitting in Opposition with no clear path to taking government in the next election.
If we have any chance of getting Islander’s votes, we need to shake things up. We need a party that isn’t run by backroom politics and an old boy’s club.
We need one that is built strong from the bottom up. Most of all, we need a party that listens and works with its members on the ground- they know best.