Graydon Pelley Searches for Allies in Formation of NL Alliance Party
In November, news broke that Graydon Pelley stepped down as president and quit the provincial Progressive Conservatives in order to form his own political party, the NL Alliance. This alone was a newsworthy story as Pelley had supported current PC leader Ches Crosbie in his Windsor Lake by-election win in September.
Shortly after, Pelley said he could not support the new direction of the PC Party and spoke of his vision for the NL Alliance and to have a government that represents every resident of Newfoundland and Labrador. Pelley believes that every elected member of the House of Assembly should be able to vote freely on issues that affect their constituents and that MHAs should be more focused on collaborating for the greater good as opposed to towing the party line.
“We debated what would be the best name for the Alliance,” Pelley told The Racket via email. “An alliance is, “an association of people, groups, or nations working together for a specific purpose…” [and] we felt this truly embodied what we wanted the NL Alliance to represent.”
The name may bring up memories of the now defunct federal Canadian Alliance which was a conservative, and far-right, populist party that rose to prominence in the early 2000s. “We are not a far-right populist movement and we do not share any extreme ideologies,” claims Pelley who said if he had to pick a position, the NL Alliance would hover somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum.
This should come as a relief for anyone who may identify with the NL Alliance’s commitment to collaboration, especially after some of Pelley’s posts on his personal social media accounts were unearthed that could have exposed him as a socially far-right individual. VOCM reported about an anti-Trans infographic meme shared by Pelley but the leader of the NL Alliance promises it was all just a misunderstanding. “[What I meant was], I cannot believe that we are still battling over these pronouns,” said Pelley. “Let everyone be who they are and let’s promote unity, inclusion, and respect for everyone no matter what pronoun they prefer to use to identify themselves.”
This seems like it was simply a case of clicking the “share” button before completely reading, something we can all be guilty of. Pelley, who is an educator realized his error. “As a teacher, I tell my students to always verify the validity of their sources. Politics is no exception,” he asserted. “In the age of social media, this is even more of an issue,” acknowledging as we have seen, how inaccurate information, or “fake news” can sway opinions, polls and even elections as we have seen. “[That] meme that you referred to taught me a valuable lesson to not share things without checking the source and the intended message,” he said.
“The biggest problem we have in party politics is there is no visible regard for the opinions of others,” said Pelley. “Party politics, as we have known it, has been an adversarial system that does not work for the people like it should. We have too many decisions being made that are in the best interest of the party rather than the best interest of the people. [The] NL Alliance will change that system in Newfoundland and Labrador through collaboration and decision-making through consensus.”
To help change the way we do politics in this province, the NL Alliance wants to allow all elected MHAs to speak freely on subjects, government jobs will be posted with a proper interview process, and recall legislation which allows for constituents to oust their elected official if they feel their MHA is not representing their needs. “NL Alliance will be an administration that is elected by the people, working with the people, for the people. No longer will fourteen cabinet ministers make the decisions,” said Pelley. “We will give power back to the majority rather than the minority.”
The NL Alliance needs to have 1,000 signatures to get off the ground and Pelley hopes to have a full slate of candidates in the 2019 provincial election. Pelley hopes he can attract those signatures and gain support through a series of town hall meetings throughout the province, the first of which was held in St. John’s last week.
“The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are really showing interest in the NL Alliance,” said Pelley. “They are asking lots of questions about what is it that makes the NL Alliance different from the present political parties that we have in the province. People are telling us that what we are offering is real change and it is really needed in Newfoundland and Labrador.”