Tony Wakeham seeks PC party leadership | Spare News

Tony Wakeham seeks PC party leadership | Spare News

WEST COAST – MHA Tony Wakeham (Stephenville – Port au Port) has officially announced his bid to lead the province’s PC Party. His January 17 announcement came about seven months after the first candidate, Lloyd Parrott, MHA of Terra Nova, entered the race in July.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve certainly had a lot of encouragement from people across the province over the past few months,” Wakeham said. “The leadership conference will not take place until October 2023. and there’s obviously a significant period of time between now and then, and you won’t be an official candidate until sometime in May, but I thought it was important to get out there and let people know that I’m going for the lead and get started to get people to support Tony Wakeham. The way the leadership works is based on a points system where each district is worth 100 points so it is important that you have people supporting you in each district of the province.”

Wakeham struggled for the lead before in 2018, ultimately being defeated by Ches Crosbie, but that didn’t dampen his spirit this time.

“The last time I ran, I had no political experience whatsoever. It was a new venture and I came into the game late. Had I had more time I would have had a different result but now I think the opportunity is here to get around the province, reach out to people and spread my vision for the province and what I believe in. “

Wakeham said he learned a lot the first time around and believes Newfoundland and Labrador has a lot to offer.

“I’ve been saying the same thing since I was first elected. I firmly believe that politics should be about people, not politicians. I truly believe that we must ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador is a place to live, that we have accessible healthcare, that we do not miss opportunities and that no one is left behind.”

There are a few points Wakeham has announced as a key focus throughout his campaign, but health care is his top priority.

“There are too many people left behind in healthcare and there are too many people without access to primary care. That needs to be addressed immediately and there are ways to deal with it,” Wakeham said. “We saw the statistics from the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, which basically told us that there are now 13,000 people without a family doctor. So this number has not decreased. It has actually increased and that is worrying. But at the same time there are people in other positions who have agreed to help, such as the province going to a nurse must pay. This has to change and should be changed immediately. We don’t need any more excuses. It has to happen immediately.”

Wakeham said the cost of traveling back and forth between specialist appointments is also a serious concern.

“Nobody should have to worry about getting to their doctor’s appointments. We recognize that there is only one tertiary care center, say St. John’s, and whether I live five miles or 500 miles from that tertiary care center, I should not be put at a disadvantage because I cannot afford to go there ‘ said Wakeham. “The government has a role to play in making sure I get to my doctor’s appointments and that’s the last thing people need to worry about, how they’re going to afford to pay for their ambulance transport. I think the government has an important role to play here to improve the policies that we have at the moment.”

Wakeham has also been very vocal in opposing the province’s sugar tax.

“When the federal government introduced the carbon tax and the provincial government approved it and introduced it into our legislation and then went ahead to introduce a sugar tax, both taxes were introduced under the guise of behavior change, but I would argue that those taxes didn’t change behavior change, they actually harm people,” Wakeham said. “It hurts people at a time when inflation is at six to seven percent. The last thing people need is more money being taken out of their pockets through taxes. There are better ways to impact carbon in our country and I would argue that the province and people of Newfoundland and Labrador have paid more than anyone to make this country greener.”

Since announcing his candidacy, Wakeham has received endorsements from other PC-MHAs, Craig Pardy, Pleaman Forsey and Joedy Wall, and he said general support has been outstanding.

“It was overwhelming. I knew I had a lot of support before making the announcement and since making the announcement the number of messages, emails and texts we’ve received from across the province has been very humbling,” Wakeham said . “I think this province needs strong leadership, a team approach, and it needs someone to go out and sit down and work with the communities and try to make things different for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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