James Rodd outlines plan to revitalize rural P.E.I.

     The fabric of the rural communities has been weakened by the neglect of the government but 20/20 vision of Island New Democrats can change this and save rural P.E.I., said provincial NDP  Leader James Rodd.

      The Island New Democrats discussed their 20/20 vision during a leadership convention April 4. It is a plan to vastly improve the quality of life in the province with a main focus on the rural communities by the year 2020. The discussion was lead by leadership nominee, James Rodd.

       Rodd said if the province can build a strong foundation for rural P.E.I. and communties connect Island businesses and products into the martketplace, the quality of life will improve.

       “The world can come to us here on Prince Edward Island.”

        Rodd said education is also an important part of the 20/20 vision plan for the rural communities.

     “It is important to give those living in the rural communities the best education possible and to make sure their education is adequate.”

       With the baby boomers growing older and the population of senior citizens ready to rise by about 20 per cent within the next five years, it is important to build homes which seniors living in rural areas can live in for as long as possible, he said.

        “At the moment, Charlottetown and Summerside are the only areas on the Island to follow the Canadian building code. In the rural areas the contractors decide what is best. We are planning a new universial building code which will make sure all buildings and homes in P.E.I. meet a high quality standard.”

      “With the universial building code we will make sure senior citizens have their homes up to code, with reinforced walls and installed lifts to make sure they can live in their homes as long as possible.”

       Rodd also talked about the importance of the involvement of youth not only in the NDP but in the community and the province as a whole.

       “They are leaving the Island and you can’t blame them. There is a lack of employment opportunities here in P.E.I. but with an investment in Island businesses, we can provide youths with employment here.”

        Rodd said the 20/20 vision plan is the beginning for a party stance or platform for the next provinvicial election.

        “We will work hard to make sure that this plan is ready no later than July of 2011 to give us three months to prepare for the election to be held in October.”      

         New party president Edith Perry was the first of many party members to express what they would like to see focused on in the 20/20 vision plan.

         Perry said she is concerned about the policies Island businesses have been following.

         “Businesses need new policies to be put in place to make sure they don’t go for the cheapest labour.”

           Perry was also concerned with the current minimum wage.

          “It needs to more than simply raised.”

         She is also concerned about current state of the province’s current labour codes.

        “We need better labour codes and regulations put in place because businesses small and large are breaking the current ones which were put in place.”

       Other members of the party in attendance also expressed their opinons. During this time Rodd heard a number of suggestions, including: the need for grassroots development programs, the idea of a traveling women’s wellness clinic, the importantce of making immigrants feel welcomed in the community, the need for the lack of public transportation to be addressed, and the possibility of investing in wind energy.

         At the end of the session, Rodd thanked everyone for their input and said the 20/20 vision can move the Island in the right direction if it is met with the support of those in the party. 



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