The NL Alliance has big things planned for Newfoundland and Labrador politics.
Graydon Pelley’s biggest plan is the abolishment of the party system in provincial politics.
Pelley is the former Progressive Conservative Party president who resigned to start his own political movement.
“You are soon going to hear an announcement from us regarding getting into Elections Newfoundland and Labrador with the signatures,” Pelley said.
Pelley didn’t want to give an exact figure. He said the group is ‘closer to home than you can imagine’ to getting the 1,000 signatures needed to register as a party.
Pelley says there has been plenty of interest in the NL Alliance for the next election, with many people putting their name forward to be candidates.
“I am pleasantly encouraged by the number of people that are interested and showing support across the province,” said Pelley.
Pelley anticipates that number ballooning when they are officially registered.
Don’t call it a party
Pelley ultimately wants to break free from the party system. However, in order to get off the ground, his movement must be registered as a party with Elections NL.
“Change isn’t going to happen overnight,” said Pelley. “But we know people are saying that they want change in electoral reform, a change in the way we do politics and elect officials.”
“In order to start that change, you must get into the House of Assembly,” said Pelley.
Travis Wooley, the province’s assistant chief electoral officer, deals with campaign finance and the registration of political parties.
Wooley said that becoming a party allows a political movement to run candidates in an election, have a party-standing in the House of Assembly and fundraise.
Wooley says it will be interesting to see how politics will look in NL without the party system.
“I’m not sure how it would work,” said Wooley. “I guess you’d have 40 independents and you’d have blocks of independents that would vote together – or against notions.”
Wooley was uncertain about how fundraising would work in a system of independents.
A complete rewrite
As for the abolishment of the political party system, Wooley says it isn’t exactly an easy process.
“It would be a complete rewrite of any elections act, like the House of Assembly Act, which spells out when elections are held, the duties of members and of the House of Assembly,” said Wooley.
Wooley struggles to see how the political landscape would look in the province without parties.
“One of the things about the party system now is that it had a good bit of representation. You could look at metro vs rural. There could be some dynamics with that happening with a non-party system.”
While Pelley ultimately wishes to abolish the party system, he isn’t concerned with people voting against his mandate if he gets elected.
“I can’t see it happening,” Pelley said. “What I see is people saying that we need to change the way we do things in NL. What we’re proposing is just common-sense politics – we haven’t been seeing that.”