Tories to decide fate of Crane's leadership

Teresa Wright
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Progressive Conservatives gather Saturday for annual general meeting

The Guardian's Teresa Wright and Wayne Thibodeau will be at the PC AGM to provide full coverage of the events that unfold. Follow them on Twitter at Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa and Twitter.com/GuardianWayne. Check back here for stories, photos and video from the meeting.

Progressive Conservative Leader Olive Crane

Progressive Conservatives will gather Saturday for the party's much-anticipated annual meeting, where Olive Crane's leadership of the party will be the focus of debate.

And, although it's not officially on the agenda for the day, sources tell The Guardian some members may even ask for a leadership review to be held right there and then.

Hundreds are expected to attend the event at the Rodd Royalty hotel in Charlottetown.

There they will be asked to vote for candidates vying for key positions on the executive as well as two motions that propose changes to the party's constitution.

One of those motions proposes a review of Crane’s leadership in 2013.

Party president Sylvia Poirier said this motion has sparked a great deal of interest in the meeting among the membership.

“There's certainly a lot of interest in the constitutional amendments,” Poirier said.

“People have strong feelings but my job is just to try to facilitate and manage everything and I try to listen to everybody and, of course, I don't have an opinion on this – the members will decide.”

Pre-registration is not required for this meeting, so party organizers do not know exactly how many people to expect.

But given the amount of public attention that has been paid to the meeting as well as heavy behind-the-scenes lobbying by supporters on both sides of the leadership review question encouraging fellow supporters to vote, attendance is expected to be higher than previous annual meetings.

That's why, although the room at the Rodd Royalty can seat 500, the party has secured an overflow room complete with an audio-visual live feed, should greater numbers of members arrive for the meeting.

Members who do attend will have a lot of decisions to make. All key members of the executive are re-offering for their positions: Poirier is re-offering for president, Geoff Connolloy for vice-president, Ryan Pineau for treasurer and Charles Blue for secretary.

Poirier is being challenged for the presidency by Charlottetown business owner Blake Doyle and Connolly has been challenged by Morell lawyer Michael Drake for the position of vice-president.

At this time nominations can be called from the floor, so other positions may be challenged as well. But that is one thing the party is proposing to change. This change would require those interested in running for key executive posts to submit their nominations one week prior to an AGM.

But the big vote will be when party members decide whether to force a leadership review of Crane in 2013.

As it stands now, a leadership review would not be held until after the next provincial election, scheduled for October 2015.

The motion proposing such a review was put forward by Jason Lee and Keith Boswall. It quickly become apparent the two are members of larger group pushing for a review of Crane's leadership of the party when robocalls, mass emails, newspaper ads and letters signed by other prominent party members began to emerge, asking for support for the motion.

This group even paid for a survey of 610 members, the results of which suggest more than 70 per cent of Progressive Conservatives in P.E.I. believe the party needs a new leader, including a majority of those in Crane’s own riding.

That's why PC members' phones have been ringing across P.E.I., as member of both sides of this debate have been working hard to ensure they get their vote out.

The motion will be open to the members to debate on the floor, and people on both sides have already been quietly lined up in advance to speak either for or against it.

Sources tell The Guardian those in favour of a leadership review feel so strongly about the need for one, they may ask for a review vote to be held right away at Saturday's AGM.

The vote on this motion has revealed deep divisions that exist within the party, which many attribute to be a continuation of the lines drawn during the party's last leadership convention when Crane won the race against Jamie Ballem.

Crane told The Guardian earlier this week she will not back down from her role as leader, and accused those of pushing for a review of having a 'hidden agenda.'

Regardless of the outcome, Poirier said she hopes the party will emerge from this AGM moving forward together.

“We have to leave that meeting as a united party,” Poirier said.

“We have to demonstrate that there is a viable alternative to the current administration that is really, in my opinion, does not have the best interests of Islanders at heart at the present time. So we'll need to continue our work to strengthen our grassroots, develop policies and generate revenue to get ready for the next election.”

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, Crane's, Rodd Royalty hotel

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • DG
    November 03, 2012 - 16:51

    Well Olive, the Lord works in misterious ways, what a time for Justice Cheverie's decision, watch Jason Lea and Keith Boswell squirm no along with all the Lawyers and Accountants who are involved. Go get them.

  • Marie
    November 03, 2012 - 10:15

    I would wish you luck Olive because PEI needs you badly. But I know luck has nothing to do with this, so...use you're skills to the max against these PNP cover-up fools. Pressure will be LARGE tonight because of it. But you remind me very much of Mike Duffy... the truth shall set you free, and we all know you can't believe a liar!!! Go get them Olive!

  • Credit where due
    November 03, 2012 - 10:04

    Donna Allen and the CBC are the ones to thank for the PNP list being allowed to be released not Olive Crane.

  • Today
    November 03, 2012 - 09:02

    Today will tell the tale if the PC party is going to be a viable party against the Liberals in the next election . If they dump Crane & select a (old boy approved ) person ; they will be offering PE Islanders no change from the goverment of today . It's a shame that the party didn't dump these greedy liaires when they last decided that Olive was a better choice than Jamie Ballem & his present group of backstabbers thieves . Today will really let a lot of Islanders know if they have any choice( re a honest Goverment ) Olive Crane is taking the PC party in the right direction for the people of PEI & it will be a shame if the old boy's can screw this up . A lot of people like myself who believe in honest goverment ( which we haven't seen for a while ) will be dissapointed & not vote for the Provincial PC's . Waiting

  • angus
    November 03, 2012 - 08:42

    CBC won its case and Wayne Cheverie ruled that the names of companies getting PNP units can be made public. Betcha many of them will be associated with the backroom boys trying to get rid of Crane. Typical of PEI politicis, its all about the insiders.

  • Green, Orange, Blue or Olive . . . anything but Red.
    November 03, 2012 - 08:05

    I've been a Liberal for over half a century. Why would I ever support Crane? She drops her "g's", flushes on camera and speaks with a nervous flutter. She has a difficult time responding fluidly to questions and her responses are stiff. Mr. Ghiz doesn't present this way - he's slick. Unfortunately, it's Plan B slick. For me, that turns my cows back to the barn and my boat back to shore. Don't get me wrong, I like infrastructure, needed projects and getting honest people honest work. What I hate is deception. And there's no doubt that deception is what Mr. Ghiz and each and every "silent" Liberal MLA has perpetuated with regard to the Plan B fiasco. Olive has the guts to take a position on this issue. But at what cost? Let's not kid ourselves, many of the same corporate masters pull strings in both main stream political parties, so her act of courage may not help her own situation. But here's the rub. Like most Islanders I'd rather an honest leader that's a tad rough around the edges more than an eloquent liar. I voted for one of those and yikes, it sure left a mark. So, will I turn Blue? Well, it's not in my DNA and if I did I'm not sure who I'd visit at Christmas. But for the first time in my life, well before Monday October 5, 2015, I'll think real hard about voting Olive.

    • Hot off the press, another shade of GRAY
      November 03, 2012 - 17:17

      Yikes, it looks like Olive didn't want or allow the review. What do we get when Islanders combine GREEN, ORANGE, BLUE, RED and OLIVE? I guess it's just another shade of GRAY . . . and I guess we're doomed to more submission?

  • Coincidence
    November 03, 2012 - 07:33

    What timing! The PC are going to bully the backroom boys into position asap, (possibly today), just as the PNP list is about to be published.

  • Enough with Mike Currie
    November 03, 2012 - 06:44

    Mike Currie was on Compass last night saying Olive has to go...Mike Pushed for Belinda Stronach and we all know how that ended...he then pushed for Jamie Ballem....we all know how that ended...Mike you were a good politican now take your pension cheque and go home-you have no clout anymore-you are a retired MLA

  • Sir John A
    November 02, 2012 - 22:37

    Finally the Tories are deciding to address this issue, ignoring it was very poor politics on their part. Rather silly for Crane and Perry to say this is all because a few people were "lurking in shadows", this has been a very public issue for the party. If it is only a few then there will not be more than 125 to150 at the meeting like every other year. If there are 300 or more attending regardless of how the vote goes it will prove that they are denying reality. Islanders are questioning the current government's actions, the NDP and Green parties seem to understand this and have addressed their leadership issues, it will be interesting to see what the Tories will do!

  • AMAZED
    November 02, 2012 - 22:15

    Very clearly a battle between truth ,accountability,integrity versus greed,self-entitlement,back room deals like the old boys.If one of these camps does form a government I hope it is without the badboys circa Binn's era.Creepy even to think it could happen,but they are all over this.

  • Just Asking
    November 02, 2012 - 21:25

    For those seeking executive positions and/or wishing to bring forward motions at the annual meeting, would it not seem fair to have them firstly address whether or not they, or anyone in their immediate family, received direct financial benefit from the PNP program? Seems like a fair question in light of recent events. They can be given the option not to answer.

  • wheres the story on the list of PNP JUdgement
    November 02, 2012 - 20:54

    where is the story on the PNP decision which will swamp Mike Duffy, Jason Lee, Nancy party loudmouth Key, Murray the hatchet and a bunch of other slobs.????thanks eh

    • Bertie
      November 03, 2012 - 08:08

      The Ghiz guys launch the PNP appeal and the Jason Lee crew sweep into action to wipe out Crane. Two party establishments united in the protection of corruption and the right to do more ... oh so much more....unhindered by the public eye. Sady I learned last night that some of the biggest backers of Crane are as big a troughers at the PNP swill pit as the other two crews. Where does it all end? I do not know for sure but I am quite confident that it is some point after we start electing NDP MLAs and MPs in PEI. With the old parties the corruption, the madness, and the weirdness will continue on forever. Obviously.