The PC party is hoping to show a more united front now that the issue of split leadership appears to be solved.
A provincial council meeting of the Progressive Conservative party in Charlottetown Monday night drew about 130 members, who came to hear from the party’s top brass and have their questions answered.
Media were not allowed into the meeting, which is open only to party members, but The Guardian spoke with several members after the meeting who said the mood was generally positive.
There were some tense moments when several members raised concern over the absence of former leader Olive Crane, Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie and Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry, who announced he was stepping down as Opposition leader just a few hours earlier.
It was this group of three MLAs that chose to elect Perry as Opposition leader just one day before the party was to select its interim leader, creating two leaders within the PC caucus.
Pat Mella, a former party leader from years past, said when the meeting began she and others did not understand why the three MLAs were not there to answer to the membership.
“I was very concerned about the optics of that so I did say we need some explanation or else we haven’t healed at all,” Mella told reporters after the meeting.
“I was very concerned about the optics of that so I did say we need some explanation or else we haven’t healed at all,” - Pat Mella, former PC leader
“Before the meeting was over we did end up with an answer as to why these people were not present, all with legitimate reasons… so I think we can move forward as a unified party.”
Members emerging from the meeting echoed this sentiment of hope that the party can move beyond the current state of division.
Interim leader Steven Myers said he was encouraged to see how engaged the members were in the workings of the party.
“I think it’s a very positive step for our party and a very proactive step to be able to have this many people show up on a Monday night and discuss its future,” Myers said.
He hopes to shift the spotlight off internal struggles within the party and move focus back onto developing policy and building support.
“(We’re) trying to help bring unity back to the party and I think that, based on what I’m hearing in there tonight, there’s a strong will from the membership to have that happen.”