P.E.I. could see snap election in spring

Teresa Wright
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Finance Minister Wes Sheridan says Conservatives should get permanent leader

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Steven Myers makes his way to Province House with PC MLA Colin LaVie.

Prince Edward Island may be going to the polls as early as next spring, so the Progressive Conservatives should get themselves a permanent leader, says Finance Minister Wes Sheridan.

Sheridan was commenting on a motion tabled Tuesday in the legislature by Deputy Premier George Webster 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.

Sheridan says the purpose of this motion is to make sure all political parties know an election could come at any time, and they should be ready.

“Our Liberal party now is leaderless, just like the Conservative party has been for the past 2 1/2 years, and we want to give them warning, it’s time. In case a new (Liberal) leader wants to call an election right away,” Sheridan said.

“We’re saying to the other parties, get your house in order.”

Premier Robert Ghiz announced last week he plans to resign early in the new year. The Liberal party of P.E.I. is now planning a leadership convention, likely in February.

Ghiz’s successor as Liberal party leader will become the next premier, and remain so until the next election is called.

But since the general population of P.E.I. will not have elected this premier, he or she may feel compelled to call an election right away, Sheridan said.

That means the next provincial election could come as early as March 2015.

But the Progressive Conservative party doesn’t hold its leadership convention until May 30, 2015. Party president Peter McQuaid told The Guardian last week there are no plans to move this date forward, regardless of Ghiz’s resignation.

“They’ve had two-and-a-half years to get ready, we’ve had five days. We can do ours in February and they don’t think it’s necessary,” Sheridan said.

“They’ve had two-and-a-half years to get ready, we’ve had five days." Finance Minister Wes Sheridan

“No one wants to be surprised by an election call.”

Webster, who tabled the motion, said he wanted to spark a discussion and raise awareness that an early election is a very real possibility. He, too, took a shot at the PC party for going so long without a permanent leader.

“The Conservative party, for at least two years now, has had an interim leader, which is by a choice that they have made, but I do believe that governing parties should have true leaders,” Webster said.

If the next Liberal leader keeps to the fixed election date, he or she could remain an unelected premier until as late as April 2016, which could be problematic, Webster said.

That’s why Ghiz’s replacement “should not be encumbered in any way” from calling a snap election, Webster said.

He acknowledged any premier could go to the lieutenant-governor at any time and dissolve the government, forcing an election.

His motion proposes no change to this, but rather, is meant to make the public, and the political parties, aware of it through discussion in the legislature.

But Opposition Leader Steven Myers says the motion looks to him like a vote of non-confidence.

“If it passes, it will show that the members of this legislative assembly no longer have confidence in themselves to be a government,” Myers said.

He called the motion “full of silliness” and believes it is meant to distract from what he characterized as a state of disarray on the government side of the house since Ghiz’s surprise resignation last week.



Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, The Guardian

Geographic location: P.E.I., Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • stupid voter
    November 21, 2014 - 05:58

    politicians make a farce out of the election process ---Don't forget to exercise your FARCE in the next election !!!

  • Just what the liberals want
    November 20, 2014 - 11:47

    This is exactly what the liberals want....the tories booted their only shot out the door. Olive had incredible popularity (with the exception of the back room) and these clowns have nothing, seriously the liberals don't even have to try !

  • Feed-up!
    November 20, 2014 - 11:25

    If the liberals pull a fast one, Islanders will punish them dearly. I have voted liberal all my life. This election I am voting by staying home. I am sick of these lying liberals!!

    • To fed up
      November 21, 2014 - 08:18

      Then you are prepared to accept the consequences of not exercising your vote?! Shame on you for taking the freedom to vote so for granted!!!!!!!

    • stupid voter
      November 21, 2014 - 10:03

      you really should exercise your "FARCE" like you probably have done so uselessly for so many years -DO NOT LET SOMEONE SAY THAT YOU DID NOT EXERCISE YOUR "farce"- you know they're lieing to you but please play the game !!!

  • Not drinking the kool-aid
    November 20, 2014 - 10:26

    It seems that Peter, Jason, Steve and many Island tories have started drinking the same Kool Aid Duffy and Harper are drinking and they think Islanders still like and respect them.

  • Eastern resident
    November 20, 2014 - 09:45

    What a coincidence there just happen to be a picture of a donkey and a chimp shown...if the liberals want them they can have them...both are tied way too close to the feds- need I say more !

  • neil
    November 20, 2014 - 08:48

    obviously (Ghiz) or certainly (the rest of them) this is an indication that even without Ghiz the rest of them are inept. this is pure liberal politics. this motion has no place in the House and these comments by Webster is for the birds. Islanders should be outraged that party politics are conducted here instead of the business of the people.

  • Third Party
    November 20, 2014 - 08:27

    The Liberals could have a donkey or chimp run against the PCs in the next election and would win handily. The PCs have to get their act together!

    • WayneDrops
      November 20, 2014 - 09:28

      with Peter McQuaid, Jason LEe and Murray Murphy back in the fold I wouldn't bet on it.

    • SomeSense
      November 20, 2014 - 10:56

      Yes they likely could since what the PCs stand for is so far out of touch with what most people I know believe. Their stand on drugs and abortion is right out of the dark ages. Unfortunately the Liberals can't be trusted, No HST here, yeah right. Why not waste some more money on projects that make no sense. Even the supposed fixed election date, no we can't abide by that now can we. I think it would be great if the NDP and green party won every race. They would likely be no better (couldn’t be much worse) but why not give them a chance maybe that might make the main two parties think about more than themselves and their friends for a change.