CHARLOTTETOWN -- Provincial New Democratic Party Leader David Burke expects to see another Conservative victory in Prince Edward Island next week, but he won't consider the Monday vote a defeat for his party.
The NDP fielded five candidates in the 1979 election and received one percent of the popular vote. This time it has only three candidates.
Burke said Wednesday the party suffered some 'internal difficulties' after the last election, but he felt they were resolved. The party was now in a 'building stage,' he said.
While it 'wouldn't make much difference' to Burke which of the two main parties won the election, he anticipated an increased majority for Premier James Lee's Conservatives, who held 21 seats to the Liberals' 10 at dissolution. One seat was vacant.
While Lee has made few promises, Burke felt the Tories would consolidate their position because the Liberals, led by Joe Ghiz, 'aren't offering anything realistic' in their cumbersome platform of interest rate and mortgage relief, job creation, and federal tax rebates.
Burke's platform reflects standard New Democratic policies and is packed with promises on job creation, labor standards, electoral reform, housing and a dozen other issues.
Canvassers were getting 'a very positive response' from the electorate, Burke said, although he would not comment on the chances of actually electing what would be P.E.I.'s first New Democratic member of the legislature.
'All I can say is that we have a better chance than we've had in any previous election,' he said.
The 34-year-old Burke, who had never before run for election himself, practically stumbled into the leadership only three months ago.
He joined the party last year and expressed an interest in running for the leadership after former leader Douglas Murray fell ill in June and was forced to retire.
The provincial election call forced the party to cancel a Sept. 18 leadership convention, and Burke was appointed interim head of the provincial party.