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Federal Court decision clears major hurdle stopping former MLA from leadership run
Kevin MacAdam has one more opportunity to keep his job as the number two official in the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in P.E.I. Failing that, he should be considered as a front-runner for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I. The party has been in a holding pattern since January 2013 when Olive Crane officially stepped down as leader.
Interim Leader Steven Myers has consistently stated he is not interested in the permanent job. The number of declared candidates to date is zero. Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward is considered a strong contender and former cabinet minister Horace Carver is considering his options. After that, things are uncertain.
A Federal Court judge ruled last week that ACOA staff acted inappropriately when they hired Mr. MacAdam, who will now lose his $130,000 job unless he appeals. He has 30 days to decide.
The former provincial cabinet minister came within 300 votes of unseating federal Liberal heavyweight Lawrence MacAulay in Cardigan in 2000. He quit provincial politics in early 2006 and took a job as senior staffer with foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay, also the minister responsible for ACOA. When Mr. MacKay’s portfolio was shuffled, Mr. MacAdam decided to seek greater job security and won a civil service job as director general of operations on the Island — essentially second in command at ACOA’s P.E.I. office.
A Public Service Commission of Canada investigation found that senior ACOA officials acted inappropriately by bending the hiring process and Mr. MacAdam’s job was revoked. He appealed the commission’s decision to the federal court and here we are.
Mr. MacAdam has considerable federal connections after eight years in Ottawa. He has a good working knowledge of French after two years of training. He has a solid background in provincial politics. He is just 48 and in the prime of his political life. He has all the leadership essentials.
With ACOA now virtually out of his grasp, P.E.I. Tories should be prevailing upon Mr. MacAdam to consider a provincial leadership run. It is time for him to come home and seek the provincial leadership. The provincial party was in no rush to set a convention date, perhaps waiting patiently for Mr. MacAdam’s future to be decided. Last week’s ruling has settled that issue.
A return by Mr. MacAdam does offer an interesting scenario. His old seat on P.E.I. was Morell-Fortune Bay. Ms. Crane, dumped by the provincial party last year, sits as an independent from Morell-Mermaid. Ms. Crane is hoping to be welcomed back by the new leader, who could be looking at Ms. Crane’s present seat for himself.
It all gets very interesting.
Running lights essential
It might have seemed like a trivial matter last week when Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey announced changes to the Highway Traffic Act that require Island drivers to have their daytime running lights on while the vehicle is in operation.
The rule is certainly an important safety issue. Mr. Vessey says daytime running lights help motorcyclists and bicyclists see oncoming traffic, and have been required for all vehicles manufactured after 1989. But, really, running lights are crucial for all motorists. We expect to see every vehicle on highways with running lights and are quite surprised to be caught unawares when a vehicle approaches without its lights on.
We are now conditioned to look for running lights, especially when pulling out to pass. Drivers with older model vehicles are urged to always turn on your lights, especially at dawn and dusk when they are almost invisible. You are a hazard.