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Green MLA questions timeline for hiring P.E.I. referendum commissioner

Hannah Bell, right, speaks with a visitor at the P.E.I. legislature Wednesday. Bell was sworn in as the MLA for CharlottetownParkdale earlier in the day.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Hannah Bell, right, speaks with a visitor at the P.E.I. legislature in this file photo.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Green MLA Hannah Bell is questioning the tight timelines around hiring a referendum commissioner who is supposed to be in place by June 1.

Bell raised the issue during question period Thursday where she said the timelines don’t allow for advertising the position to the public.

If the government abides by the fixed election date, there is no need for accelerated timeframes, Bell said.

“There is absolutely no rush here.”

Related: P.E.I. government tables electoral reform referendum legislation

When Islanders go to the polls in the next election, which is scheduled for 2019, they will also have the chance to vote in a referendum on electoral reform.

Under the Referendum Act, as it was recently tabled, a commissioner would be appointed by the legislative assembly and be in place by June 1.

The legislative management committee would recommend someone to the legislative assembly and two-thirds of MLAs would need to vote in favour of that person.

Bell asked Premier Wade MacLauchlan if he instructed Liberal MLAs to rubber stamp a selection.

MacLauchlan responded that he hadn’t.

MLAs have yet to vote on the legislation.

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