The Post Millennial is sitting down with all five people seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island. Our third interview is with Dennis King
Dennis King was born in Georgetown, PEI, the third child out of eight. King claims that being from a big family in rural PEI has given him a specific value system which brings a positive alternative to the table.
King worked in many island media outlets for years before eventually starting work for former Minister of Transportation Mike Currie in 1997. He eventually moved up the ranks to Director of Communications for former PC Premier Pat Binns.
After leaving government in 2007 Dennis worked several jobs including for the Mi’Kmaq Confederacy of PEI, the Seafood Processors as executive director, and as the owner of this own consulting company in Charlottetown.
The Post Millennial sat down with Dennis to discuss what he believes and how his leadership would change things on PEI.
TPM: How would you summarize your political position?
King: In terms of the classification of what type of politician or system of belief I would classify myself, if the moniker still exists, a red tory.
I would be socially progressive and fiscally conservative. Some of the people that I had looked up to now and throughout my life would be Joe Clark, that type of conservative, and Angus MacLean. I think in this world now where that’s probably more in the middle now as opposed to right or left.
TPM: What you think it means exactly to be a Progressive Conservative?
King: Well I think probably what I described earlier would be it. When I think of Progressive Conservatives I always thought of someone who was very socially progressive, someone who was fiscally conservative, someone who supported the notion of business driving government not government driving business, and government being an assistant in the process not the driver of our economy. Relying on the talents of our business community and of the people in general.
I think there is responsibility that has to fall within the citizens to do what's best for us and do what's best for the country. In the province in general and I think some of that has been lost maybe in the last little while. I’d like the help rediscover them.
TPM: What do you think distinguishes you most from Liberal Premier MacLauchlan and Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker?
King: I'm a stark difference to both of those. I mean I'm considerably younger, I'm considerably more energetic than both of those gentleman whom I have great respect for. Personally I like them both.
I think I’m the opposite of the current Premier from the perspective that I'm not a micromanager. I’m a genuine collaborator. I really believe in trying to use the position to generate ideas from others not just promote my own ideas. I think I would have some similarities with Peter Bevan-Baker, I believe in a kinder, more civil approach to our government which I think he has helped bring to the legislature to a certain degree.
But I think I have the perfect amount of experience in life and crossing many sectors which makes me unique within that field. My experience will be more blue collar perhaps than theirs is and I think that gives to me a perspective that a lot of people in Prince Edward Island can relate too
TPM: What do you feel are the biggest issues that your campaign has heard so far and what are your ideas to address those problems
King: Well I think that the there's a number of issues that seem to be coming to the surface. I see for a lot of people a topical issue right now is the affordable housing issue, not just in Charlottetown but across PEI.
People are really engaged and concerned about our environment and that touches a whole lot of things from a carbon tax to groundwater. How do we function as an agricultural province while trying to protect our environment are legitimate concerns that people really have.
I would like to try to begin to address some of these issues by actually having a real, honest, and open discussion about them and but what we want to do was a province to do the best. We have to remove the emotion from a lot of these issues which tend to cloud some of these issues and and make it difficult to proceed with them.
I don’t really agree with a carbon tax. I mean I think that it's naive to think that our climate is not changing and that humans are playing a role in that change. I don't know if we have to begin the discussion with a tax, I like to think that a tax might be the last thing we could do. I would like to see, as an island province if we could try to reward people to continue to come up with environmentally positive solutions.
TPM: How do you feel your leadership will prepare this party for the next election?
King: Well I think that our party is at a very pivotal time in its history. I think we've had a difficult last number of year. I think we're in a legitimate 3 party system, I think the days of “it's our turn” is over. I think we have to structure this party in such a way that we realize that we do have to work and collaborate with other parties, we do have to try to reach across some different aisles to convince others to come join our view participate in our vision
I think that the the world of politics changing a lot I think the way people are engaged. The way people pay attention has changed a lot and I think we've been slow to adapt to that on trying throughout this campaign to sort of change the tone and style of politics within our party with the hope that it appeals to a broader base.
I have spent the bulk of my life in the field talking to people with the jobs that I had gone and I think I have a pretty firm grip on the general consensus of belief that people have in this province in their expectations they have from their politics and I don't think people see themselves within our politics right now and I think we have to change that.