MLA for District 22 Summerside / St. Eleanor's
Good morning everyone.Today marks an important political anniversary for me. Twelve years ago, on September 14th 1987, I was elected for the first time to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island by the wonderful people of what was then the 5th District of Prince. I was proud to join the Liberal Caucus of our late Premier Joseph A. Ghiz, to later participate in Government as a Minister of the Crown, and then to serve as Speaker of our Assembly.
And during all this time... more than anything else... I have felt privileged and honored to represent the people of Summerside. But in political life, the moment always arrives when leaving rather then staying is the stronger feeling. And, I am here this morning to tell you that for me, that moment has come.
About an hour ago, my formal letter of resignation as the member representing the District of St. Eleanor’s/Summerside was delivered to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Honorable Wilbur MacDonald.
For over a year now I have been seriously considering retiring from provincial politics. After a great deal of discussion with family and close personal friends. I made the decision some time
ago to not re-offer as a candidate at the next General Election. But, I would also be less than honest with you if I did not acknowledge other circumstances.
As you are aware... the new Leader of the Liberal Party... the man sitting to my right... Wayne Carew... is also a resident of Summerside. This is his community too... and over the years he has distinguished himself as a municipal leader and hospital administrator... and until recently he operated a successful business here. Wayne has stood beside me over the years as I tackled each new political challenge... and our friendship goes back to when we served together on Summerside Town Council. He is a man I truly respect and admire. But as the Leader of one of the province’s two major political parties, he does not have a seat in the Legislature and he must guide the Official Opposition from outside the rail.
These circumstancesm while not the basis for my decision to retire from provincial politics have certainly influenced the timing of that decision.
Therefore, I am stepping aside at this time to allow the Leader of the Liberal Party an opportunity to win his own seat in the Legislature by asking for the support and confidence of the people of District 22.
I would like to be clear about one thing. This has been my decision and mine alone. I informed the Leader of my intention to resign just last Thursday morning. He expressed regret as did my District President Paul Walsh, who is also here this morning.
Over these past twelve years as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, I have tried to represent the people of my District and the province to the very best of my abilities. I have tried to be honorable and fair in my actions, and always mindful of the fact that I was a servant of the people who elected me.
I have tried to debate important public issues with courage and conviction and with compassion. I know that from time to time I may have gotten a little carried away, but when you feel strongly about issues that matter to ordinary people, who rely on you to speak for them, a passionate and insistent voice is sometimes the only one that is heard.
I will miss those fiery debates in the Legislature. I will miss the comradeship of my Caucus colleagues and indeed the fellowship of all Members of the Assembly. But most of all, I will miss the tremendous personal satisfaction and pride that comes from knowing that you may have made a difference; that your words or actions may have helped someone and led to the betterment of the community you live in.
Those memories... those experiences... I will treasure forever.
- Loyalist Country Inn, Summerside, PEI, September 14, 1999