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Ryan Ross - Between the lines -- Ryan Ross

Where will Wade MacLauchlan run? - With an early election a near certainty the nominations for Liberal candidates in ridings across the province are filling up fast. Leader in waiting Wade MacLauchlan’s name is notably absent from the list. As of Feb. 21 MacLauchlan will officially become the Liberal leader and by default the premier. He also won’t have a seat in the legislature and hasn’t declared where he plans to run. If he were to run in his home riding MacLauchlan would seek a seat in York-Oyster Bed, but the problem is that district already has a nominated candidate. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey, who is also one of MacLauchlan’s campaign chairs, holds the seat and received the nomination way back in May 2014. He was the first candidate the party nominated for the next election. That means MacLauchlan would lose a prominent cabinet minister as a candidate if he wants to run in his home riding. So what are his other options? Unless more MLAs say they won’t run again the only district without a candidate is Cornwall-Meadowbank, thanks to Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley deciding not to re-offer. MacLauchlan has been playing his cards close to his chest so we’ll all have to wait and see what he wants to do. But with a spring election likely on the horizon we’ll probably find out sooner rather than later.

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Photo : Ryan Ross February 11, 2015

Teresa Wright - Between the lines -- Teresa Wright

P.E.I. could vote on electoral reform in 2016 - Prince Edward Islanders could be voting next year in a referendum on whether to reform the current first-past-the-post voting system. The P.E.I. government’s white paper on electoral reform will be released Thursday in the legislature, and, according to my sources, will include the creation of a bipartisan committee to get public input into a question that may go to a plebiscite in 2016. Premier Wade MacLauchlan tabled a motion Wednesday, which references that government “has released a white paper on democratic renewal” (in the past tense, which indicates it will likely happen Thursday) and asks the legislative assembly to approve the members of a new five-person special committee to make recommendations on this white paper. The motion names the members of this upcoming new committee, to be chaired by rookie government backbencher Jordan Brown.  The other proposed members are: Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker, Transportation Minister Paula Biggar, veteran government backbench MLA Kathleen Casey and new Tory MLA Sidney MacEwen. The motion does not mention a plebiscite, but an inside source has told me the committee will get public feedback and meet with experts and then will report back to the legislature in the fall with a question formed that will go to a possible plebiscite in the spring of 2016. All this follows an amendment to the Electoral Boundaries Act that will pass this session extending the time period for starting the process of updating P.E.I.’s electoral boundaries. The act in its current form states an electoral boundaries commission should be struck within 90 days…

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Photo : Teresa  Wright July 08, 2015