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Saturday 13 August 2011

To the Liberals of NL

My name is Ryan Lane, and chances are you’ve never heard of me. I’ve been among the silent majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans who have been paying attention to the political scene but who have never spoken up, until now. Over the past 10 years I have watched as our amazing province was finagled by a political party to promote the party’s own ego. During that time the Liberal Party fought hard to bring important issues to the floor of the legislature and to the attention of the public, sometimes with success, sometimes without. The popularity of the Williams Government was undeniable and it has reduced the number of Liberal supporters in this Province. But the time has come for the Liberal Party to once again seek the people’s support to form a truly responsible and transparent government.

This will be no easy task, and it will require the utmost integrity and commitment from the people in the Liberal Party. We must differentiate ourselves from our opponents. We cannot rely on simply finger pointing and casting disparities at the current administration. Instead, we must show that we have become the party that the people need us to be. We must accomplish this difficult task by developing a clear vision of where we see Newfoundland and Labrador in the future, and we must set solid and realistic goals to lead the way to accomplishing that vision.

We have to first begin with a clean slate. We must start anew. We cannot head into the upcoming election carrying the past, and all of its baggage on our backs. People of the province are ready for a party with a fresh approach led by fresh faces. The party simply cannot afford to fight battles from the past if we are to focus on our future. I offer the chance for a new beginning that will focus on the grassroots of the party. People are ready for a leader who is willing to not just try something different, but to be something different.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are crying out for a party and a leader who understands that we don’t all drive shiny new cars, or have million dollar homes, or even that we don’t all have clean water to drink. They want a leader who understands their issues and they want a party that wants them to be involved in the decisions that will impact their own lives. The Liberal Party is that party, and I am that leader.

Rural Newfoundland and Labrador needs our help. But it’s not just infrastructure and money that they require. They need to be reminded of just how strong and resourceful they really are. The Liberal Party must work with rural community leaders to maximize the existing resources instead of stifling development and tying the hands of local leaders from making real progress. Over the past five years I have heard far too many stories of Municipal councils who have been ignored by the current PC administration. These community leaders have some of the answers, and we need to help them implement innovative solutions to make our communities healthy and sustainable.

A modern Liberal Party must take advantage of every opportunity to engage the people, especially the younger people who tend to shy away from traditional communication methods. As such we must strive to utilize modern social media tools. We need a young, strong voice, speaking in a language and through a medium that the next generation can relate to. Of course we must remember to continue traditional means of communication and consultation as well, for those who prefer those methods. It must be a broad sweeping consultative approach that engages anyone who has the initiative to take part.

If we are to really break through to new voters we must take strong stands on issues that are of significant importance. Issues such as investment in rural communities, improving access to government services, and finding alternatives to the proposed Muskrat Falls deal. It is where we stand on these and many more issues that will tell people the kind of party we are and the kind of government we will be. This is how we will win votes.

The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador needs a new, young leader. One who is well spoken, understands the issues, and is not afraid to fight for the rights of the people of this province. The leader has to understand modern media, speak in a language all generations can understand, and most importantly convince the people that the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador is a party with a vision for the future, and not stuck the past.

My name is Ryan Lane, and I am ready to be the next leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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