UPDATE: Tories at an impasse

Teresa Wright
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The PC party has obtained a legal opinion saying Steven Myers should be the rightful leader of the Opposition, but Hal Perry has no intention of backing down

Recently elected PC Party Leader Steven Myers speaks to reporters outside the legislature in this Guardian file photo.

The Progressive Conservative party of P.E.I. has reached an impasse over who should be the leader of the Opposition.

Party president Blake Doyle has asked the speaker of the P.E.I. legislature to recognize Interim Leader Steven Myers as Opposition leader.

The party has obtained a legal opinion that says Myers should be the rightful leader of the Opposition. Doyle sent his request and the legal opinion to Speaker Carolyn Bertram Thursday.

“There seems to be some lack of clarity on the concept of party leadership,” Doyle said in an interview with The Guardian Friday.

“From the party’s perspective, and we’re being guided by our constitution, it’s quite clear that the leader of the party, when sitting in the house, is the leader of the Opposition so because there’s been some confusion we’ve done our own research and we’ve compiled some information and presented that to the speaker and asked her to make a determination.”

But Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry remains firm he is Opposition leader. Earlier this week, Bertram recognized Perry as the official leader of the Opposition after he sent her a letter informing her he has the majority support of the five-member Tory caucus.

Perry said Friday he will not back down, despite the fact his own party is now acting against him.

“I have the support of caucus,” he said.

“This silliness has to stop and we have to get down to what we have to do. We were elected to represent the people within our own districts and all Islanders to hold this government to account.”

Myers was chosen by the party’s executive and caucus as interim party leader, while Perry has the support of at least three of the five-member Tory caucus. This has created an unprecedented and confusing situation with two elected MLAs within the same caucus splitting leadership roles that are usually filled by one person.

“This silliness has to stop and we have to get down to what we have to do. We were elected to represent the people within our own districts and all Islanders to hold this government to account," Hal Perry

Doyle says the legal research the PC party obtained refutes Perry’s claim to the position.

“We’ve looked at Roberts Rules of Order, we’ve looked at the Legislative Assembly Act, we’ve looked at members’ handbook, we’ve looked at the Elections Act, we’ve looked at the precedent in the House of Commons and other legislatures across the country and we have consistently found the same occurrence,” Doyle said.

“The convention is that the leader of the party, when seated in the house, is the leader of the Opposition.”

Bertram released a statement Friday, confirming she recognized Perry as Opposition leader earlier this week.

Regarding the legal advice offered by the PC party, Bertram took a decidedly hands-off approach.

“ (I) will not become involved in the internal relationship between parliamentary caucus offices and political party offices. These are matters for the consideration of each respective office, and not for the speaker of the legislative assembly,” Bertram wrote in her statement.

She declined interviews Friday.

Both Myers and Perry said they have been continuing their Opposition work in the interim, but both were reluctant to comment on what effect this struggle for leadership may be having on the work of the Opposition office.

“I’m a professional and I put my professionalism above all else,” Myers said.

The party is scheduled to have a provincial council meeting Monday where members will have a chance to voice their opinions and concerns over the twists and turns the party has taken over the last few weeks.








Organizations: Legislative Assembly, House of Commons

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Recent comments

  • Manny Leon
    February 10, 2013 - 11:07

    Meanwhile... Mastermind Colin Lavie is confused and disoriented...

  • Beendair Donedat
    February 09, 2013 - 10:30

    Watching the Cons explode is amusing. Hal Perry is and would be 6 times the leader Myers would be, but he's from West Prince and the Kings County and Charlietowner factions hate that! Bring back Mitch "credit card" Murphy!

  • SG
    February 09, 2013 - 10:06

    I think it's time the present PC Party puts there focus on the PC Party while they still have a Party as that seems to be where the current problems reside. I definitely have no interest in becoming a PC Party Member given the recent Reports.

  • former islander
    February 09, 2013 - 09:57

    Speaker Bertram can't just step back from this issue now. it is her ruling recognizing Mr perry that has created this problem. She needs to carefully assess the legal opinion, get her own legal advice and make a declarative statement. Allowing the current situation to continue creates a very dangerous precedent. Would a disgruntled bunch of government members be able to choose one of their own as Premier if they had the majority vote of caucus? Perhaps this is Madame Speakers plan given her ruling.

    • Former Islander is being misled
      February 09, 2013 - 19:15

      As much as you like to spin that this is someone's problem OTHER than the inept PC party, it really isn't. The PC Party caused their own problems. But then maybe they need the Liberals to set them straight...who knows!

  • EasternChauvinist
    February 09, 2013 - 09:08

    I bet you if Hal Perry wasn't from West Prince that the backroom wouldn't be trying to oust him.

  • Dhobey
    February 09, 2013 - 08:45

    The PC Party should have their meetings and discussions at the King's Playhouse... or maybe The Guild, and sell tickets, great comedy.... Don Harron would be impressed I bet!!

  • PC Imploding
    February 09, 2013 - 08:33

    Remember ...there is no 'I' in team

  • John from Cardigan
    February 09, 2013 - 08:32

    Backroom Boys Propping Up Steven Myers: Norman Clarey, Dennis King, Mike Currie, Jason Lee, Murray Murphy, Keith Boswell, Jeff Connolly, Gail Shea Wannabees: Derek and Nancy Key, Gerard McCardle, Philip Brown, and Cecil Taylor Come on PC Members - don't let these bunch run the show. Let's kick them to the curb. I say we show up Monday night and tell them to get lost!

      February 09, 2013 - 10:59

      I predict that if, after all this fallout, one of these individuals listed is chosen party leader or closely connected to party leader, there will be such a mass exodus of party members that the PC party will be rendered completely IRRELEVANT. Sorry folks - you are not getting to the trough. You don't get your 'turn'. and while were at it, which one of you scabbed my email address and phone # to receive a robo-call on behalf ot YOUR attempted coup last fall?? PATHETIC.

  • voter
    February 09, 2013 - 08:29

    there is a lot of money at stake here---they both want it along with whatever else they pilfer--just more arrogant political types who treat Islanders with lies, two faced promises and sneering condescension

  • The Picture of Steven Myers?
    February 09, 2013 - 07:24

    Man, you gotta love Mike Duffy. To dawn a wig and glasses and pretend he's Steven Myers! What a hoot!

  • crazy
    February 09, 2013 - 06:27

    If any back room boys are running the roads this weekend. Stop by my place and pick up my PC membership card. I don't need it anymore. Olive and Hal. you don't stand a chance against back room politics. They want their turn oink oink oink.

  • Joe Blow
    February 09, 2013 - 03:22

    Where is Pat Binns when we need him?? Maybe he could come back and bring some sense to this mess. Maybe he can bring the surplus in the budget we had when he was running things too!! Seriously though...the NDP is the only option out there anyways! For Islanders who want a responsible government that has ALL Islanders interests at heart...you're going to have to vote NDP. The Liberals are a bunch of lying crooks that have no intentions in listening to the people of this Island and the PC party is too busy fighting with each other to even think about real politics. Between both the Liberals and PC's...there are so many scandals and wrong-doings done by each party they don't deserve to run this province because they aren't doing what they are supposed to do and that's take care of each and every Islander in this province. The divide between upper class and lower class people is big and continues to get bigger by the day. We need to narrow that gap...not make it bigger. I find that PEI politics is a joke!! People in this province need to stand up and make themselves heard. We need to force our government to do as we say they can do with our tax dollars. We need to bring back honesty and integrity to our government....accountability too!! Some huge changes need to take place to make sure that the right things are done, the right decisions are made when it comes to the services and finances of this province that Islanders hard earned tax dollars pay for. Yes....these people were elected but they lied to us and continue to do a bad job...its time we fired our lousy staff and start from scratch!

    February 09, 2013 - 02:45

    stick to your guns Hal you are the one we need as leader of the opposition

  • Robbie
    February 08, 2013 - 23:35

    I was on the Legislative Assembly webpage yesterday and it already has Myers as Opposition leader. That's kinda confusing on it's own for a Government website since Bertram already acknowledged Perry as Opposition leader. This is why the PC Party is a joke. Perry going on about being supported by 2 of 3 members compared to the full PC Party Executive. The caucus should have let the PC meeting last Friday happen first. The caucus meeting last Thursday was pure sabotage planned by Olive

  • conservatives a joke
    February 08, 2013 - 22:49

    why not get gail to to ask steven who he wants to lead these clowns.bring mike and gail home to run thing into the ground for ya's, this wont get my vote after what the feds are doing to the country.

  • Bob Macdonald
    February 08, 2013 - 22:10

    The funniest thing of all is that the Conservatives are now asking the Liberals (Carolyn Bertram) to decide who is the leader of the opposition. I really have to wonder at this point if Olive Cranes Legacy will be "the person that destroyed the PC Party on PEI". This is February now and I have no question she will be news maker of year again. That is probably a feat never before done by anyone on PEI. I'm afraid this will continue until the Tories really do elect a leader for the next election.

    • The core problem?
      February 09, 2013 - 12:08

      Bob, isn't your two party mentality at the root of our problem?

  • View from the west
    February 08, 2013 - 21:58

    I do not see Hal & Olive as a stupid coup against the P.C. party,but as elected representatives of the people.Myers is the puppet of the backroom boys even if he can not realize it.I support Mr Perry in his official position and wish him well.

  • by stander
    February 08, 2013 - 21:44

    There's not a leader in the entire group. They will have to get mike duffy to run the show or maybe Gail Shea can vote on it. Maybe not

  • West Prince political observer.
    February 08, 2013 - 21:39

    Mr. Myers,give your head a shake,it will not mess your hair up.It was you who said that the opposition leader should also be the party leader.As you lack the confidence of the elected caucas,the speaker has recognized Hal Perry as the official leader of the opposition.Your mistake is that you did not step down.and allow Mr Perry to do both jobs.That was the direct opposite to what you believed in.Now today you are claiming to be a professional. Perhaps you need more training but not from that backroom gang who are now trying to influence the speaker.

  • SG
    February 08, 2013 - 21:12

    Wouldn't the time to have engaged in research re: the Party, the Constitution have been before any decisions were made, any Elections held for an Opposition or Interim Leader or any actions taken? (because there’s been some confusion we’ve done our own research and we’ve compiled some information and presented that to the speaker and asked her to make a determination.”) Why would the Speaker of the House be asked to make a decision concerning the P C Party? Isn't it the PC Party's responsibility to make decisions on behalf of their Party? The Conservative Party will not receive my Vote. It certainly seems that the PC Party President and their Elected Members need Guidance and Organization. News Reports of this nature is certainly not giving me any confidence in the P.C. Party. In fact if I was Member I would be cancelling my Membership.

  • Beth Johnston
    February 08, 2013 - 21:11

    Roberts Rules are American and do not apply in this situation. There is a rule book for Canadian Parliament etc and that is Bourinot (sp?) However it is only common sense that both jobs are two sides of the same coin and need to be held by the same person. Further division is silliness; one of you must concede.

  • Robert
    February 08, 2013 - 20:15


  • don
    February 08, 2013 - 20:11

    Hal Perry now has the big money , free car. now he will show his true colors. power has already gone to his head.i'll not be voting for him.i'll be better to vote for the flq.

  • Glenn Mackay
    February 08, 2013 - 20:04

    The PC Party needs to get united before it is too late. Nothing against Hal Perry or Steven Myers, but we need one leader. The Interim Party leader and Opposition Leader being done by two people is doing nothing but creating more turmoil in and out of the party and making us look weak and fractured. We need to win the next election so we can try and begin the mending process from the mess the Island is currently in. Islanders need a government that stands together with the people, to represent their needs and address the real issues that we are facing. Together we need to help put the faith back into island politics and into the people in government.

    • Islander for the future
      February 09, 2013 - 22:48

      Glenn, those last 2 sentences sound like you may want to join the orange wave and become a member of the NDP, since not many Islanders have any faith in the Liberals or Conservatives.

  • dave anger
    February 08, 2013 - 18:36

    a real Abbott and Costello who's on first

  • bye the way
    February 08, 2013 - 17:49

    Do not tarry,Mr. Perry....they have banished you to the Olive garden. If you see Duff in the kitchen on the way out....maybe you could let him use your civic address.

  • Cardigan boy
    February 08, 2013 - 17:42

    Steve Myers , head of party! God help us!

    February 08, 2013 - 17:32

    what the heck is a back room boy?

    February 08, 2013 - 16:55

    Look at the comments posted. All about backroom power plays and cover-ups - full of concern and fear that the favoured few bullies will triumph - AND RIGHTLY SO. Alas, it has to be accepted: the backroom elite are only interested in what the party (formerly regarded as their 'club') can do for them. They are NOT interested in serving the people. Not one bit. EVEN if you took a poll of every PC member regarding the PNP and other 'privileges' and the results were 80% in favour of transparency, this group would NOT accept it. They cannot afford to!! Wow,,, it is truly disheartening, disillusioning and .... well, disgusting. This, we will see, is a fight to the death of the party. So... honest and ethical PC members, know there are other options than supporting a party that has been highjacked to serve a privileged few.

  • first
    February 08, 2013 - 16:55

    First it was Olive that must go. She went.That was not enough...Everyone who knew must go is the new strategy.Who gave the legal opinion this time,surely not an executive wannabee with a sting to get even.

  • concernedislander
    February 08, 2013 - 16:27

    Well well the blue party known as the conservatives are in way over there head right from the feds down too the provincal, if they put them all in one bag you wouldnt be able pull ah suitable leader out off the bag to even consider worthy, like the old saying goes it will all come out in the wash and washed up the old true blue it is,the old liberals are looking like saints these days but then polictical stripe off any sort would hardly make any off them angels or saints keep the good work up, your doing Canadians so proud.

  • PEI Tory
    February 08, 2013 - 16:06

    Olive and Hal: It's time to give up your stupid coup against the PC Party. Grow up or go home.

    • Jake
      February 08, 2013 - 18:15

      Are you delusional!

  • fred
    February 08, 2013 - 16:00

    This is starting to look like a three ring circus . Ya;s are the laughing stock of the maritimes .Between this useless waste of money and the senators ; I don;t know who would come out on top. Dizzy / gizzy must be getting a great laugh.

  • Checker
    February 08, 2013 - 15:50

    Give it up Blake... whose legal opinion did you obtain, Geoff Connollys, a former member of the executive ? You and your cronies have lost all credibility. Time for another Provincial meeting the the election of a new executive with the proper focus.

  • scott
    February 08, 2013 - 15:44

    This is getting to be the most rediculous soap opera, I have had the displeasure of witnessing. The sad thing is, that these people, who cant run there own political party, feel they have the capacity to run the province. After witnessing this specatacle, it's quite apparent, that non of them have the means to even look after their own affairs apparently. Anyone who would remotely consider voting for these politicans, should seriously sit back and take a look at what a disgusting display this really is. God help us all.

  • clam
    February 08, 2013 - 15:40

    here we go again backroom boys looking to get someone in other than Mr Perry.Something smells here.They must be scared that the pnp will come up again with the names of some backroom boys names coming to the forefront.Mr Perry stick to your guns

  • LM
    February 08, 2013 - 15:29

    This whole situation is making the entire party look like a huge joke. And do you know who is laughing the loudest? Ghiz! The PC's are running the entire party into the ground with this fiasco, no one know what's going on, and everyone is against everyone else. I was a PC supporter but in the wake of this mess I believe I may have to switch! Now, I will never support Robert "Silver Spoon Fed Doesn't Know A GD Thing About The Real World Where the Rest of Us Live" Ghiz so I please ask the leader of the NDP to put together one fired up, strong, capable, level headed team by the next election and you will have my vote in a heartbeat! And likely a lot of other people that are sick of all this stupidity!

  • I guess they didn't do their research ....
    February 08, 2013 - 15:19

    I guess someone at PC Headquarters should have done a little research before this big embarrassment.

  • Joe Blow
    February 08, 2013 - 15:13

    Booo hooo!! Its obvious that there are lots of thing to hide in this party if they are fighting over something like this. One is trying to expose some guilty members of the party and the other is trying to prevent that from happening....towing the party line dispite what their voters want!! Another example of what is wrong with PEI politics.....towing the party line is never a good idea!! Stand up for the people that voted for you....whether it goes against your parties wishes or not. When you work for the people and fulfill the peoples needs....you will never go wrong!!

    February 08, 2013 - 14:56

    Who did he get his legal opinion from,Derek Key, the next leader of the Conservative Party once they hold an election?

  • tazz
    February 08, 2013 - 14:46

    Good Lord , what next ?

  • Is it Abbott or Costello?
    February 08, 2013 - 14:46

    Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give politicians nowadays very peculiar names. Costello: Funny names? Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the Blue team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third. Costello: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the Blue team. Abbott: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third . . .Costello: You know the fellows' names? Abbott: Yes. Costello: Well, then who's playing first? Abbott: Yes . . .

  • Concerned Voter
    February 08, 2013 - 14:41

    What in hell is all this confusion. One week someone votes a house leader in, than the party votes someone head of the party. The people of PEI are getting pretty sick of this BS. The Liberals are making hay with type of confusion. Its really making people wonder why they even vote. Mike Duffy should put his name up and he just may fit into this mix. I hope Hal Perry stands tall and continues on. It appears to me we have some lawyering going on in the back room. Lets not forget where this Steve Myers was when he worked with or for Mike Currie. Talk about back stabbers.

  • Damage Control
    February 08, 2013 - 14:40

    First it was Olive that was the problem, now that she has stepped down the problems continue. Was Olive really the problem? It is now time for this party to sit down as a team, iron out your personal differences once and for al and "get to work" on ensuring this party wins the next Election. The Conservative Party can win the next Election if they focus on what is important., "The Islanders and this Island". I want to vote for a party that is stong and united, and right now I all I am seeing is negativity. I am sure the other parties are loving this, watching the Conservatives bickering back and forth.

  • Eye Witness
    February 08, 2013 - 14:34

    Somebody get me a box of popcorn and a drink. The only things missing now are the giant red shoes, big red noses and orange wigs!. Maybe they should see how many of them will fit in a tiny car while they're at it. Elect Mike Duffy as Opposition Leader!!! Oh wait, he's not an Island resident!

  • intobed
    February 08, 2013 - 14:27

    It is looking more and more like the Reform based Provincial Conservative backroom has defeated the Progressive Conservative backroom. They got rid of Olive, now they make her successor a moot point.

  • Grow up
    February 08, 2013 - 14:20

    This party needs to play right or get out of the playground.

  • don
    February 08, 2013 - 14:18

    Steven Myers. you may be the leader with the backroom babies the cowards of the pc party. but you are not the leader yet till you are voted in by the PEOPLE.till then you are a yes boy to the backroom babies.

    • Bob Macdonald
      February 08, 2013 - 22:18

      Steven Myers is a backroom boy. bahaha hahahahahah Where do you people come up with this stuff? Backrooms boys are generally Lawyers, accountants and such. I love the Guardian comments! Always so entertaining and informative.