Wayne Thibodeau
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Island voters return Liberals to power with 22 seats; Conservatives increase total to five

Prince Edward Island voters handed Premier Robert Ghiz a second majority government Monday but it was far from the sweep some had predicted.

Ghiz's Liberals came out ahead early and never looked back.

Within 30 minutes the Decision ‘11 Desk declared a Liberal majority government.

However, Ghiz lost two members of his inner circle.


Innovation Minister Allan Campbell, who was front and centre on the Provincial Nominee Program, and Fisheries Minister Neil LeClair both fell to defeat.

Campbell lost District 1, Souris-Elmira, by 30 votes. LeClair lost Tignish-Palmer Road by 33 votes.

Both cabinet ministers represented rural P.E.I. ridings.

Ghiz, who is 37 and Canada's youngest premier, says he never believed his party would sweep every seat in the P.E.I. legislature during this, the Island's first fixed-date election.

"The priority has been to try to win a second mandate," Ghiz said, shortly after arriving at his District 13 headquarters, located in a discount hotel along University Avenue in Charlottetown.

"We knew that there was going to be some challenges along the way. You're never going to get them all. I know some people think that you are but I never really thought that it was in the cards."

With all 319 polls reporting, the Liberal Party took 22 seats with 51.4 per cent of the popular vote. That's down 1.5 per cent from the May 2007 provincial election.

The Progressive Conservative Party took five seats with 40.2 per cent of the popular vote. Conservative support is down 1.2 per cent from the May 2007 provincial election.

PC Leader Olive Crane, who easily cruised to victory in District 7 (Morell-Mermaid) said she respects the decision of P.E.I. voters.

Crane said she looks forward to getting back to the P.E.I. legislature and holding the Ghiz government accountable.

Crane goes back to that legislature with one additional member to her Opposition team.

That team includes Colin LaVie in District 1, Souris-Elmira. He defeated Liberal cabinet minister Allan Campbell.

Steven Myers in District 2, Georgetown-St. Peters. Myers held on to the district, which Mike Currie represented between 1996 and 2011.

James Aylward in District 6, Stratford-Kinlock. Aylward defeated Liberal Cynthia Dunsford.

The only member of Crane's team west of Charlottetown is Hal Perry, who defeated Liberal cabinet minister Neil LeClair, in District 27, Tignish-Palmer Road.

"Today, all across P.E.I., Islanders stood up and made their voices heard and many voted for change," Crane said during a brief stop at her district headquarters in Mount Stewart.

The Green Party placed third again with 4.4 per cent of the popular vote. That's up from 3.0 per cent in 2007.

A personal victory for Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk. In 2007, Labchuk received six per cent of the vote in District 18, Rustico-Emerald. This time around, Labchuk ran in District 12, Charlottetown-Victoria Park, and received just under 13 per cent of the vote.

NDP support increased from 2.0 per cent in 2007 to 3.2 per cent.

The upstart Island Party received less than one per cent of the popular vote.

Peter McKenna, a UPEI political science professor, said Islanders were not prepared to toss out the Ghiz Liberals. He said Ghiz will be pleased he got that much sought after second mandate but it wasn't all good news for the Liberal premier.

"It's never a good night when you lose two cabinet ministers but at the same time you've got 22 seats and you've just formed a majority government," said McKenna. "Back-to-back majority governments, that's not a bad evening."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement late Monday congratulating Ghiz and his team on their victory.

"I look forward to working with them on promoting economic prosperity and addressing issues of importance to the people of Prince Edward Island and Canada," the prime minister said.

Voter turn out hit an all-time low in Prince Edward Island.

Just under 77 per cent of Islanders cast ballots.

In May 2007 it was nearly 84 per cent while in 2003, with hurricane Juan hitting the province on Election Day, voter turn out was more than 83 per cent.

Ghiz said he had to make some tough decisions over the past four years pointing to the financial recession that plagues governments across North America.

"You're always going to take some knocks along the road and at the end of the day, Islanders chose to return our government to power again and I'm extremely honoured by that."

Ghiz said health care and the economy will be his top priorities going forward into a second-term in office.

"We're in a world-wide turmoil economically, health care is changing dramatically... really over the next four years I have to concentrate on the economy, jobs and health care. That's really what it's going to be about," Ghiz said.

"They are going to be extremely large files over the next four years."

Ghiz's victory Monday builds upon a family dynasty in Island politics that began with his father Joe, who served two terms as the province's premier from 1986 to 1993.

"I'm sure he's looking down tonight and is extremely proud."


Organizations: Shaw Building

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • allison smith
    October 07, 2011 - 12:23

    The CBC interview with R.Ghiz on election night was almost too much, -- one was expecting Bruce to slither down under the desk and kiss the Premier's shoes, - or worse , anytime. The long interview with the confident Premier and his defiance of the voters' wish regarding Allan Campbell was intriging. It would be more than regretable if some silence were in need of being purchased here.

  • Glad
    October 06, 2011 - 11:08

    Glad this dirty campaign is over.Imagine calling three courageous women crazy..Imagine using private confidential personal information of former employees.Glad this dirty Liberal campaign is over.

    October 05, 2011 - 08:36

    These past weeks I have watched in amazement at the local newspapers and local CBC strut there Liberal party. They might as well call themselves the official Party news. Watching The election results the other evening was sickening. I am not a political orentitated person but the one sided reporting was so obvious a 5 year old would have noticed which side the news was for. Perhaps if this Island had non sided information and commentators/reporters who report the whole story and not just the side the like, more people would get involved in politics.

  • yeah right
    October 04, 2011 - 15:54

    Seems the last time a Liberal openly said that they would take care of their own, he was turfed out by Mr Ghiz who said the same thing on CBC last night concerning Mr Campbell. Guess you were right all along Larry !

  • Observer
    October 04, 2011 - 15:05

    I think it's telling that even on PEI, where politics is like a sport, the turn-out to vote is so low. People are becoming so disillusioned about how our system of government works (or doesn't work) and with the on-going foolishness from both parties. As a nation and a province we are facing some huge challenges over the next decade and still the political leaders focus on the petty, the small and the immediate. They concern themselves with being elected or re-elected and stick to the path that will lead that way. Where is the vision for the future? Where is the courage to make the decisions that need to be made?

  • In the Premier's Shoes
    October 04, 2011 - 13:20

    Anybody struggling to understand the returning Premier's sour mood last night must put themselves in his shoes for a minute. Down goes Campbell AND down goes LeClair, probably Ghiz's last ready and willing choice to replace Campbell in the Innovation ( PNP, Homburg, etc.) post if he had too. So now who is next? Richard? A return to PNP and the Fifth Floor Shaw? Why not? And yes Ghiz should give Campbell a plum job on the 5th. It would be most convenient to have the whole gang in one place for hand cuff time.

  • just a thought
    October 04, 2011 - 12:17

    Mr . Campbell should not be put back in . He was voted out and he should learn to live of minimum wage that they expect us to do .The gov. should stay out of the private sector and let more competition come to this island.Quit protecting the corner stores , if they would lower their prices then maybe they would make it .They should be running the gov not the companies that s here!

  • George
    October 04, 2011 - 11:28

    I and my family were proud to watch the election from Robert Mitchell’s campaign office. My eight year old son learned that throwing dirt and not fighting for a better Island is a loosing proposition for any political party. Let’s pout the negativity behind us and all work together for a better future and a Province we all can be proud of. Our children deserve only our best.

  • jim
    October 04, 2011 - 08:23

    Looks like a great party! Any guesses to how many total PNP units were in the room?

    • Karl Proude
      October 04, 2011 - 09:42

      Oh Well, I lost my vote and Proude of it. We may now have a new Tourism slogan. ( Come visit our Crooked Little Island.) Time will tell ,and if I am wrong I will be the first to admit it. I do congratulate all the honest winners of both parties,and now you can start working to prove all us non believers wrong ? To me it just means people are fed up with both parties when you only have 77% voter turn out..nobody is a winner .

  • PEI-slander
    October 04, 2011 - 08:03

    Allan Campbell is a victim of the regions discontent with the Ghiz government. The voting results did not necessarily say that Allan was to blame but they were not supporting Ghiz. Allan Campbell is a very intelligent, hardworking man and even the premier not known for his brilliance, sees that. I noticed something during the political reviews last night. The leaders ideologies were confusing: Mr. Ghiz - is very Conservative. Mrs. Crane - is extremely Liberal. Now that must have been confusing for voters!

    • to pei slander
      October 04, 2011 - 09:54

      Probably a few other individuals on PEI who are intelligent with a good education and background. Do you think they will get a crack at the job Allan Campbell has waiting for him, or you like how that works? The old who you know not what you know.

  • Willis
    October 04, 2011 - 07:13

    Election over. Working for Islanders begins again.

  • coffee man
    October 04, 2011 - 05:51

    just another joke at the expense of Islanders

  • Ricardo
    October 03, 2011 - 23:21

    So, Islanders re-elected the party that spent over a million dollars moving dirt around in Borden?? Amazing. Must be Somebody Else's Money they were using, eh?

    • Speaking of Borden
      October 04, 2011 - 06:01

      The people of Borden must have thought the "dirt" was a great idea considering their votes ;)

  • Mr. Negative .......
    October 03, 2011 - 22:01

    I couln't wait to sit down tonight and watch the results pour in knowing that there were going to be 27 losers from the 2 big parties. Thats what I like to see. Tough Close Agonizing Defeats. And we saw 3 dandy's. Two guys missed a full pension by a whisker. Thats tough to watch ......... if your not me ! If you want to see winners go watch the Ice Capades.

  • Fishing fooL
    October 03, 2011 - 21:45

    Maybe Allan will get a Shameful position !!!!!! He might as well live in Town anyway.

  • Spuddler
    October 03, 2011 - 21:15

    Well you all get what you deserve. 2 Billion in debt closed schools horrendous wait times for health car. Fewer RN less doctors and you all felt the need for another beating. Go figure.

  • Negative to the End
    October 03, 2011 - 21:11

    Of course there was a bigger cheer for Campbell losing than Crane winning, the whole Tory campaign has been negative so why not focus on it right to the bitter end.

  • Jimmy
    October 03, 2011 - 21:09

    Ann- Sounds much like the Mayor of Summerside

  • Ann
    October 03, 2011 - 20:28

    Sad to see Neil LeClair going so soon but it was inevitable really. As intelligent and good a man as he is, he just did not make a great politician. He seemed to avoid the media and when he was interviewed, was not a strong public speaker. He came across as wishy-washy and even uninformed at times. That does not instill confidence. Politics is a popularity contest that requires a sharp and quick handle on words. Let's hope Hal Perry does a better job speaking for this region.

  • Indisbelief
    October 03, 2011 - 20:21

    Only on PEI can you be a Cabinet Minister who can be fired and hired all in the same night! Wonder if LecLair was extended that plum as well...didn't hear it from the Premier.

    • Cap'n Canuck
      October 03, 2011 - 20:52

      Ohbequiet. Campbell isn't appointed to a government job. It will be a party job. The only difference is that you know sooner than later.