All about grassroots

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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McNeil delivers common sense message to local Liberals

Carrying the same message that won him the recent provincial Liberal leadership, Stephen McNeil brought his brand of common sense politics to the party faithful here Friday.

Introduced by past Cumberland South candidate Mary Dee MacPherson as someone who is "all about grassroots" and rural Nova Scotia, the Annapolis MLA was received well by a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Knights of Pythias hall in his first riding association meeting since becoming leader.

All about grassroots

Carrying the same message that won him the recent provincial Liberal leadership, Stephen McNeil brought his brand of common sense politics to the party faithful here Friday.

Introduced by past Cumberland South candidate Mary Dee MacPherson as someone who is "all about grassroots" and rural Nova Scotia, the Annapolis MLA was received well by a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Knights of Pythias hall in his first riding association meeting since becoming leader.

"I believe people in this riding and other ridings will identify with our party when it comes from common sense positions," said McNeil. "Common sense resides often outside the bureaucracy of government and its elected members, and resides in the people of Nova Scotia and our party.

We are reflective of Nova Scotia, we cover one end of the economic scale to the other and every social background, and we can develop a platform that reflects that," he added.

The new leader referred to the "growing gap" between the province's "have" and "have-not" people, and said poverty will remain a priority issue for him until the province takes concrete steps to make sure every child in the province has the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of where they live or what they come from.

"Because it's only to our collective benefit that we reach out," said McNeil, the 12th in a family of 17 children. "As long as I'm living, that's what makes us Liberal."

Within the next 30 days he plans to deliver on his leadership campaign promise of holding a youth summit and a summit for riding association presidents. In the meantime he is putting a hold on nomination meetings across the province, but hopes to have senior staff in place by July 1 to begin election and platform readiness.

During the summer he plans to travel the province, meeting its people on the barbecue circuit and giving them a chance to get to know him.

While he does not feel Nova Scotians are hungry for another election, he urged all of those interested to become a part of the team.

"I can't win this alone," said McNeil. "I will do my very best to put forward all the ideas and energies you have. But it will require you to become part, and that's why it's about you."



awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Cumberland South

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