P.E.I. government to debate an early election

Teresa Wright
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Deputy premier George Webster.

The governing Liberals in P.E.I. may be looking to call an early election.

Deputy premier George Webster tabled a motion late Tuesday evening asking all MLAs to accept and recognize the authority of the lieutenant governor to dissolve the legislature outside of the province’s fixed election date.

This move comes on the heels of the surprise announcement last week that Premier Robert Ghiz will resign early in the new year.

Webster tabled the motion at 8:57 p.m. - just minutes before the evening session of the legislature closed for the day Tuesday.

The Guardian was unable to reach him for comment.

The motion itself reasons that “current political circumstances in the province” may warrant dissolving the current assembly to allow a new new one to be elected outside the fixed election date.

It points to the fact both the governing and Opposition parties are in the midst of selecting new leaders.

The motion further notes the federal government “has set a precedent by calling an election, in the past, outside the fixed election period.”

Independent MLA Olive Crane seconded the motion.

With Ghiz’s resignation and leadership conventions for both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives coming in the new year, Crane said she feels real issues are being ignored.

“All attention is on posturing rather than debating the real issues impacting everyday Islanders, like the 77-year-old who cannot afford oxygen,” Crane said.

“Everyone knows there is an election around the corner.”

As for an election, Crane says, “bring it on.”

“Let Islanders decide, based upon policies, who they want.”

But Opposition Leader Steven Myers says he believes this motion is nothing but a game and was highly critical of it, especially how it tabled late at night when it was likely to fly under the radar.

“They’re more interested in playing games than in doing the work of the people or doing the work that they were elected to do,” Myers said.

“We’re asking questions on really serious issues, issues that affect Islanders and we’re trying to get answers… I’m not into playing these games, Islanders aren’t into playing these games.”

He believes this motion is a tactic to get Islanders talking about what would happen if an early election were called to distract them from possible controversies that may be stewing.

“Why put this in the form of a motion? The premier can go to the lieutenant governor any day he wants and ask for an election. Why bring it to debate on the floor of the legislature? To play a game, nothing more,” Myers said.

An early election could be problematic for the Opposition Tories, who are not scheduled to elect a permanent leader until May 30, 2015.

But Myers noted the Liberals have not yet announced their convention date, adding he is "not too worried" about an early election. He called on government to stick to more serious business, like tabling the capital budget.

The Election Act sets the next provincial election in October 2015, but if this coincides with a federal election – which it is scheduled to do – it would be pushed back to April 2016.

Despite these fixed dates, the act does include a provision giving the lieutenant governor the power to dissolve the legislative assembly “when the lieutenant governor sees fit.”

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Franky Bacon
    November 19, 2014 - 16:14

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Will be interesting to watch as things unfold.

  • How It Is
    November 19, 2014 - 12:32

    It's no wonder nothing ever gets done by our governing bodies. They do nothing but play games with tax dollars. I'm sick of it.

  • Tracey
    November 19, 2014 - 12:00

    Anyone else think Ghiz is after a seat in the senate?

  • I_Wonder
    November 19, 2014 - 11:42

    I wonder how many of the geniuses who know everything that needs to be done and foresaw every issue are actually going to stand for election, and how many are going to sit back and say how they would have fixed everything if they were in government?

  • greg
    November 19, 2014 - 09:57

    this kind of game playing, leads me to believe Ghiz's get out was not as big a surprise to EVERYBODY as claimed. looks more like wanting to be elected without answering to the people in the Legislature . Nice try, guys, I don't think Islanders will fall for that , even in their elation of being rid of the liberal's talking head.

  • Lou
    November 19, 2014 - 09:49

    liberals are too cute for their own good, --- are Islanders in awe of this game, or are they disgusted? do we really need a government? things could run pretty much by themselves, obviously. the resignation had nothing to do with the recall proposal, -he just did not want to bother dealing with things any more, - the rose had lost it's bloom, - or to quote and old saying " his farts had blown cold."

  • jack
    November 19, 2014 - 09:41

    It is sad it has come this scherade. - Ghiz runs the province into the ground and can't stand the heat in the Legislature, further, gets bored with the excessive lifestyle and perks of THIS office and bails 'unexpectedly ' . (Would it not be harder on his young family was he to work in Ottawa.? Shows his b.s.) Now this move on the part of Deputy Premier Webster to keep us all in suspense. Which makes it look like the government can't function without Ghiz or they are looking for a chance to get out of answering for their actions during this session. Was it all planned this way, and the surprise was not surprising to certain liberals? Make no mistake, Ghiz did not serve the people of PEI, he served himself. That is the reason there is not great outpouring of praise, - it has been 7 wasteful years, - and now this game playing. If Islanders vote these fellows in again, they should be subjects of a study on stupidity.

    • riiiight
      November 19, 2014 - 11:39

      Because the entire world is partying on surplus, except PEI. or is it the entire world would be fine now if it wasn't for Ghiz? I can never tell which is meant.

  • Election Strategy
    November 19, 2014 - 09:17

    Calling an election early is actually strategic right now (not for the Tories unfortunately). Myers is running scared - talked a lot about recall legislation and now he is looking the tiger in the teeth. Why wait? No reason whatsoever.

  • Bill Gown
    November 19, 2014 - 08:00

    So they passed a law to let themselves stay later. The Opposition said nothing because they can't sort out their internal business. There is no elected mandate to stay later. We don't want two elections at once so they should have an election in April or May.

  • hmatt
    November 19, 2014 - 07:12

    Maybe the back room Tories, actually seen Olive Crane for what she really is, long before. we did.

    • WayneDrops
      November 19, 2014 - 09:01

      ...a good honest politician....that whole backroom is a stain on the Conservative party of PEI...McQuaid, Lee, Murphy and King all think they are going to win the next election and they are sadly mistaken...cannot believe Lantz is foolish enough to want to be a puppet for this bunch

    • Observer
      November 19, 2014 - 09:03

      Very,very true! What would you to,a sitting member of your caucus; if you knew that she was negotiating with Ghiz to cross the floor with Hal Perry to join the liberals, if Ghiz would appoint her to cabinet? Thank God that Ghiz did one of the smartest things that he has ever done; and refused to appoint her to cabinet!

    • hmatt
      November 19, 2014 - 10:57

      @ waynedrops There is no such thing as an honest politican. I'm in her riding and a lot of people around here believe she is conniving, this is a prime example.

    • WayneDrops
      November 19, 2014 - 11:34

      why don't we have peter mcquaid, Jason lee or dan aiken run for the tories..or are they too afraid...they want at the trough so bad...run for a seat

  • IBC
    November 19, 2014 - 07:01

    Like I have said most Islanders have blinders on and they only see PEI as liberal . No matter who is in the running . Their dad , their dad's and great grandfather they will , vote what ever they voted . That's PEI .

    • Say's Who
      November 19, 2014 - 12:25

      Younger people are not following that path so much. Please don't generalize. Your statement does nothing to encourage change.

  • Denis
    November 19, 2014 - 06:34

    Two ballot questions should be: Should there be more deep water wells on PEI? Is there a need for abortions to be performed on PEI? Let the people decide.

    • big george
      November 19, 2014 - 07:29

      Please add :reduction of MLA'S.

  • Jim
    November 19, 2014 - 05:27

    Won`t make a whole lot of difference when it is called . The PC`s can`t decide on a leader let alone survive an election

  • mkhill
    November 19, 2014 - 03:44

    Me thinks Steven Myers is just a tad scared of an election.

  • Rob McEachern
    November 19, 2014 - 02:21

    The headline may be misplaced as there is no reason to debate and in fact there will be no more debates this year. Webster set the stage for Prorogation of the Legislature. Crane is a fool and "gladly" seconded the motion. Frank Lewis would easily allow this after card games last night. Myers missed his chance to play games.

    • MEJ
      November 19, 2014 - 07:55

      I think they called Myers' bluff ...asking for recall legislation...won't an election give the same results??