Doyle steps aside as PC party president

Teresa Wright
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Progressive Conservative party leader Steven Myers, left, is joined by party president Blake Doyle in welcoming Lisa Raitt, federal Minister of Labour to the P.E.I. party's 2013 spring fundraising dinner. FILE PHOTO

The Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I. now has an interim party president as well as an interim leader.

Blake Doyle quietly resigned as president last week, halfway through his second term in the position.

The new interim president of the PC party is Peter McQuaid. He formerly served as chief of staff to former premier Pat Binns.

In an interview with The Guardian, Doyle said he felt he has achieved what he set out to do with the party. Now that all political parties in the province are shifting focus toward the next election, he says a change in direction was needed.

“My role was more operational, organization. This is a different cycle and it’s probably not my skillset,” Doyle said. “I recognize that and I’m quite prepared to step away.”

Doyle has been at the helm for some of the most turbulent times the party has faced in recent memory.

He was elected president during a dramatic AGM in 2012 that saw hundreds of members turn out for a vote on whether to force a leadership review of former party leader Olive Crane.

She narrowly escaped the leadership review only to resign a few weeks later, leading to more turmoil when MLAs Steven Myers and Hal Perry went to battle over who would take over as Opposition and interim party leader.

More upheaval followed when Perry crossed the floor to join the Liberals and the very next day, Myers kicked Crane out of the Tory Opposition caucus.

This has left Progressive Conservatives with only three MLAs in caucus and a daily visual reminder of divisions within the party with Crane sitting across the legislative chamber as an independent PC MLA.

Soft-spoken and media shy, Doyle admits it was a challenge to be president of a party going through such ‘calamity,’ as he puts it.

“I came into an environment that was tumultuous and it stayed very dynamic really the entire time that I had the opportunity to be in the role that I had,” he said.

Doyle also admits he clashed with some party members over the direction he saw for the party.

“I think anytime there’s an organization of volunteers that you don’t have much influence to wield power over, there’s going to be conflict,” he said.

“I outlined a plan that I was committed to executing on, and some people supported that and some people didn’t.”

He says that these personality clashes were not the reason for his resignation. He remains on good terms with the party and will continue on the executive as past-president.

As for the leadership convention, that remains a question mark.

The party previously announced it would be held this fall, but is also considering pushing it back, since the election may not be held until the spring of 2016.

With the incumbent Liberals already holding nomination meetings in preparation for a possible fall 2015 election, time is running short for a leadership convention.

“There’s work being done on the organization of it,” Doyle said, deferring further inquiries to McQuaid as new interim president.

McQuaid did not return The Guardian’s calls.

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • don, let's hang out
    May 25, 2014 - 11:18

    Some day I'd like to meet "don" and see his shrine to Olive Crane. Locks of her hair. Pictures of her down at Victoria Park. Newspaper clippings of her terrible polling numbers. It must be quite a sight.

  • carter jeffery
    May 25, 2014 - 03:04

    Excellent news. One less backroom boy controlling our province. As noted before in my comments of this person, he was very unkind to a friend who had a legitimate PNP project but she wasn't politically involved, etc. -he had control and she was jerked around unnecessarily. Very unfair. Good riddens Mr. Doyle!

  • carter jeffery
    May 25, 2014 - 03:04

    Excellent news. One less backroom boy controlling our province. As noted before in my comments of this person, he was very unkind to a friend who had a legitimate PNP project but she wasn't politically involved, etc. -he had control and she was jerked around unnecessarily. Very unfair. Good riddens Mr. Doyle!

  • walter
    May 24, 2014 - 18:44

    people, people, here is the opportunity to get on with things---- Olive should see the light and join the NDP. Her thinking is for the people, like them, - joining them she would boost their popularity and she would not have to start a new party, - she should join the team and lend her expertise and Redmond should remain leader, between the two of them, we would get rid of either of the old parties, - what a relief Please Olive, Redmond and Bevan Baker, join forces, give Islanders a clean start.

    • reality
      May 25, 2014 - 05:49

      surely the ndp can do better than a tory cast off --she still hasn't told all she knows about the PNP !!----- What does Redmond know about the PNP ???????????? Nothing ?? scrape the bottom of the barrel if you wish - -- where are the people who can undo the liberal and conservative damage ? Are they willing to list the damage as they see it and explain how they are able to fix the damage ?? I think they will also be "status quo" and promise bearers

  • Tory
    May 24, 2014 - 14:21

    Isn't it interesting how quickly the people commenting here have forgotten that Peter McQuaid was on Team Olive. So was Blake Doyle.

    • Your Right
      May 25, 2014 - 08:07

      You are right , didn't they carry the knives for Currie & crowd .

  • Jimmy Cheverie
    May 24, 2014 - 13:19

    This is ridiculous. Not sure that Doyle ever did anything good for the PCs but McQuaid will do nothing but pad the seat for some of his backroom cronies. McQuaid is no savior for the Pc Party and I hope Islanders see exactly that and vote for another party. Islanders have seen the error of their ways. Bring back Olive and lets give her the reins to do some good for PEI. People, it is time to wake up!

    • don
      May 24, 2014 - 15:34

      what they need is to clean house but the voting members seem to be COWARDS. that why olive was booted out. and besides she wanted to open the books and tell everything the money got on the pnp and the bullies in the lib,pc sides could not have that. it is time the pc party on PEI close up and get off the sinking ship.

  • Angus
    May 24, 2014 - 11:18

    So here we go! Peter MacQuaid as president and Kevin MacAdam coming in as leader. Say hello to the new/old backroom boys running things and forget any hope of anyone being held accountable for the PNP scandal. Next up - Duffy returns as chief advisor!

  • justin
    May 24, 2014 - 11:07

    MY GOD this party is in a mess. They need to realize that this 2014 and get out of the 90's. Myers needs to go and does for that matter McQuaid.

  • Craig
    May 24, 2014 - 08:05

    As bad as the liberal party is the PC crew have no idea what's going on! The same old boys are still kicking around in the party that the people voted out back in 2007! PC will not go anywhere until they clean house and start fresh with people that are not in it for themselves and their friends! Running government is like running a business you only spend what you take in and u spend that money on the things that count education, healthcare, roads etc. not polar foods or hills in Borden

    • don
      May 24, 2014 - 08:46

      i agree they need the OLD back room babies voted out. till then the party will go no where but DOWN. and the member are either to dumb or to scared to do something. the best they had was olive but she was not only to honest but had a back bone and the baby bullies could not control her. but look at her now she is doing good go olive please start your own party we need you in power.

  • DelightedNDPer
    May 24, 2014 - 07:45

    Peter McQuaid, part of the Binns' PC PnP duo of Peter 'n Pat (Dorsey), is back in control of the Party. Wow, that's is the fresh start the PCs need!

  • Prediction
    May 23, 2014 - 22:00

    I predict things are going to get much worse for the PC party before they get better. Especially if it is true that Kevin MacAdam is set to assume the leadership. All he will accomplish is having more people leave the party.

  • reality
    May 23, 2014 - 19:07

    some people are just too honest for political posturing

  • don
    May 23, 2014 - 19:04

    doyle you and the back room bullies are like a canser slowly eating at the party and you helped put out your only chance for the party to beat ghiz but with you bullies scared of he PNP that olive wanted opened fully with names,amount of money gotten you had to get rid of olive. mainly because she was not doing as ordered. but you found myers to be a good little puppet. the pc party WILL NEVER be in power as long as you and the rest of the gang is in power. members of the party cut out the censer.

    • Let it go
      May 24, 2014 - 11:25

      Seems you missed the memo Don. The PNP list came out - better let go of that tiger tail.

    • wrong
      May 24, 2014 - 14:08

      Wrong - all the names didn't come out - there were a lot of NUMBERS & no names listed.