Today I threw in the towel. It was clear that I couldn’t carry on indefinitely trying to juggle all these balls simultaneously. So I ran up the white flag: cashed in my chips: laid down my arms: packed it in: gave up the ghost: took the count: ate humble pie.
I have been a dentist for over 30 years, and it’s a job I love: I’ve even become quite good at it, if I do say so myself. But despite my best efforts to maintain my office in Hampton, and carry out my duties as MLA for district 17 and leader of the Island Green Party, I have decided to hang up my drills. On Thursday I sold my dental clinic.
It has been an agonizing decision, but I have concluded that changing the political culture of a whole province is not a part-time job.
It has become abundantly clear that if my success at being elected last year is to mean anything beyond a quirky footnote in Island political history, I will need to devote myself entirely to the job of building the Island Green Party, and dedicating this next part of my life in working toward the vibrant, healthy, sustainably prosperous Island which is the clear vision of the Party I represent.
Of course such a vision is not entirely new: Premier Angus MacLean, for one, imagined just such an Island back in the 1970s and 80s. It has been a long time, though, since an Island Party looked at our rural regions as a primary source of our future well-being. For over 30 years Prince Edward Island has attempted to mimic the development patterns of the rest of the world, with decidedly mixed results. And now, as we watch the rest of the world dealing with the consequences of decades of centralization, over-exploitation of natural resources, social malaise, and increasing economic fragility, perhaps we need to strike out on a different development path; one more suited to our unique situation.
Islanders have shown a willingness to vote for new parties — but I’d like to suggest that in so doing, we weren’t necessarily voting for a new set of values. The Green Party echoes long-standing Island traditions of care of the land, social cohesion, modest living and economic creativity. I think it’s time to revive some old ideals and in this rising sea of global despair, create an Island of well-being.