Holyrood Town Hall - December 1, 2018
The following is the speaking notes for a speech that was given at a Town Hall Meeting in Holyrood on December 1, 2018 by NL Alliance founder, Graydon Pelley:
Welcome everyone and thank you for taking the time to come out and hear what the NL Alliance has to offer the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, in bringing real change from our current political party system.
It is a pleasure to be here and to get an opportunity to share our vision and, more importantly, to listen to your concerns and suggestions to help us take back our province.
This journey that we have undertaken began on November 14th when I announced my intention to lead an Alliance of members that will truly operate as an open, honest, transparent, collaborative and accountable Government.
I have been fortunate enough to be involved in Provincial politics for many years, in many different roles. In my most recent role as President of the PC party, from which I resigned on October 30th, many have questioned why I left the PC party and the timing of it. I can say I left the party with no ill feelings towards anyone. I made many friends that I will have for life.
As for the timing, I felt the urgency of the 2019 election upon us and the desire from the people for change in the way we do government. I could not continue as President of the Party with my convictions and desire for real change. It was not fair to the party, to the people or to myself to continue in that role feeling the way I was. I can honestly say it has nothing to do with leaders of any party, but rather my personal convictions and vision for change. I am concerned about my future and the future of my children and grandchildren. We have to take back our province for their sake if they are going to have a future in this province.
I am people focused and a TEAM player and will always be that way. In fact, two of my slogans when I ran in the last general Election were "For the People" and "Together Everyone Always Matters".
It was not right for me to continue with the PC party knowing the change that people are looking for and – let’s face it – that change is not going to happen under the current party system.
This is not about me or any person leading any party in this province. NL Alliance is about giving the people of this province back their voice. I have come to realize party politics is just not serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador justly and I could no longer support it. We need to change how Government members operate and get back to fair District representation for all. Not just the few.
Since announcing Newfoundland Labrador Alliance, we, a group of like-minded individuals, have had many conversations with people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Through these conversations, and many hours of discussion around the table, we have written our FIVE Guiding Principles to help guide us in developing policies that will provide the Province with true guidance and oversight well into the future.
Our very first guiding principle is:
We aim to work together to change the current political system, which is broken and does not provide equal representation for all people in Newfoundland and Labrador.
What does this mean, you might ask, how is this different from what we currently have?
Based on Guiding Principle number one, NL Alliance believes:
The people of Newfoundland and Labrador need a round table, with forty seats, belonging to forty elected MHAs.
Every elected MHA needs to have a free thinking voice, reflective of their own conscience and the needs of the people in their electoral district and province at large. It's about service and accountability to the people – not adherence to a party line, patronage, cabinet or personal power. As well, under an NL Alliance administration, when constituents feel their representative has forgotten their responsibility to them, NL Alliance will ensure there will be a mechanism that allows citizens to remove and replace that MHA before the end of their term. We will be only the second province in our country to provide their citizens with this right.
This is what makes us different. This will change the political landscape of this Province and make Newfoundland and Labrador a place all Governments across Canada will learn from and know what true representation is all about.
You might say, we currently have a system that allows every elected MHA a vote and a voice through the House Of Assembly. But this is not really true. Under the current party system, while you may have a member of the HOA that is on Government side, the majority of those members have little or no say on how Government is operated. Once the leader appoints their cabinet, cabinet members are the only individuals that truly have a say in Government, the remaining elected members become known as Backbenchers and they are told what to say or say nothing at all. They are told how to vote on every piece of legislation put before the HOA.
Is this a true, free voice? We think not.
As well, currently the official opposition and members of the third party have no voice on behalf of their constituents in matters that may affect them. Routinely, under current practices, the government administration rarely, if ever, considers supporting any motions put forth by members of opposing parties.
An example of our current party politics is the budgetary process. The leader and the 14 cabinet ministers discuss and debate the budget. They will prepare the budget as they see fit, then and only then when all decisions are made and set in stone, the backbenchers, along with the media, are put into a locked room and provided the budget document briefing just prior to its release. Each backbencher is informed of how the details of the Budget affects their District. They have had little, if any input, nor have they been consulted on this document. They are expected to vote for this document when the time comes for ratification in the HOA, regardless of the effects it may have on their individual Districts. Now we all know that to stay in, and find favor with government, one is expected to “Tow the party line” and vote regardless of District and / or personal convictions. We have witnessed what happens when an elected member of government votes otherwise.
You may think, and are led to believe, under the party system you have a majority government, but we truly do not. It is 15 members of the 40 elected, who actually run the Government. This is a minority group within the elected body that make decisions for the majority. This is not right.
We need to take back control from the minority and give it back to the majority. No longer can we allow one individual to set the tone of government by selecting those members for cabinet positions that align with that leader’s agenda.
We want to bring back the “Majority Rules” whereby each sitting MHA has a voice at the table, a vote at the table and is completely free to vote their conscience and what their constituents want, without reprisal.
We do not want or need the current system of “Minority Rules” with only the 14 appointed members selected by One resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Premier. An NL Alliance administration will not operate like this. We intend to give back to you, the people, control of your government. When you put faith in a person and elect that person to represent you in the HOA you need to know your member will have equal voice at the table, regardless of political association, and together all elected members will make the best decisions that will benefit all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
We have presented the first of the Five Guiding Principles here tonight. We have listened to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and we feel our first governing principle gives the people of this province hope for real change and what you have asked for - true District Representation.
We will continue to engage with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and encourage them to look at our remaining guiding principles and provide feedback as we develop our policies over the coming weeks.
It is only from gatherings like this, telephone calls (of which I have had many in the last few days), emails and questions, will we truly understand what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians desire from their Government.
NL Alliance want the people to choose who controls government, not a select few, or an individual (who may or may not have their own agenda) making decisions for everyone.
If you want this change, and you think NL Alliance is on the right track, we need your assistance. In order for NL Alliance to get registered as an official, recognized alternative to the party system, we need a minimum of 1000 signatures to present to Elections NL and to be on the ballot in 2019.
Our website is NLAlliance.ca. There you can find information, including our guidelines, events, news releases and policies as they are developed.
Most importantly right now, there is a button to click to get the form to sign our petition. Please take the time to visit our website and Facebook Page and provide your feedback. If you do not have access to the internet, please call us at
709 636-TEAM (8326) and we will get the forms to you for your signature ASAP.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to come here this evening. Please stay around because we want to chat with you to hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas. Through conversations like these, you are helping define NL Alliance and develop our future policies together.
We are an Alliance of people ... for the people…. working together for change.