Two holes will be filled in the political roster for the May 2 federal election by the end of the day today with Mike Currie set to announce he will seek the Conservative nomination in Cardigan and Guy Gallant announcing he will go after the Liberal nomination in Egmont.
Sources close to Currie say he will meet with Speaker Kathleen Casey this morning and announce he is resigning from provincial politics. He will then hold a news conference at Stratford Town Hall at 2 p.m., where he will announce he is taking on Liberal Lawrence MacAulay in Cardigan.
The party is not expected to hold a formal nominating convention.
Currie will be endorsed as the Conservative candidate on Wednesday and a campaign launch is planned for Friday.
Neither Currie nor MacAulay could be reached for comment on Sunday.
Margaret Anne Walsh, vice-president of the Conservative Riding Association in Cardigan, referred all questions about Currie’s future to Currie himself.
But Walsh did confirm there would be an event Monday and that event was creating a lot of interest and optimism in Cardigan.
“The mood for change is in the air,” Walsh told The Guardian.
Cardigan will be the riding to watch as the two political powerhouses battle to win over the hearts and minds of the people in eastern Prince Edward Island.
Currie is a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in the Pat Binns government. He has been reelected in four successive provincial elections and was able to fend off a Liberal tide in 2007, holding on to his district by gaining nearly 10 per cent more votes than his Liberal rival.
MacAulay also has a long and successful political history. He has represented Cardigan for the past 22 years having run successfully in seven election campaigns.
In 2008, MacAulay crushed the relatively unknown Conservative candidate, Sid McMullin - nearly doubling the number of votes cast for the Conservative candidate.
“The mood for change is in the air,” - Margaret Anne Walsh
MacAulay is not yet nominated in Cardigan.
A byelection will not be necessary in the provincial district of Georgetown-St. Peters, which will be left vacant after Currie resigns today.
P.E.I.’s Elections Act states a byelection is not necessary in the last six months of the fourth year of the term of the legislative assembly.
In Egmont, a fresh face to politics hopes to be able to dethrone Conservative Gail Shea.
Guy Gallant of Wellington will announce his intention to seek the Liberal nomination for Egmont later today. He cited his desire to stand up to Stephen Harper’s lack of respect for democracy and Parliament as his reasons for putting his name forward.
Egmont Liberals will hold a nomination meeting on Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall in Woodstock.
Gallant is a native of Wellington. He is a graduate of L’École Évangéline and La Cité Collégiale in Ottawa. He worked on Parliament Hill in Michael Ignatieff’s Opposition Leader’s Office and until recently, he was working as executive assistant to P.E.I. Government House Leader and MLA for Evangeline-Miscouche, Sonny Gallant.
Guy Gallant is fluently bilingual.
“Egmont needs to take this opportunity to stand up to Stephen Harper and his one-man government,” said Gallant.
“I will stand up to him, the Liberal team will stand up to him and, I believe, the people of Egmont and all Canadians will stand up to him on May 2.”