Fixed election date comment draws ire of Green party leader

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 5, 2015

Green Party Leader Peter Bevan Baker speaks to reporters after throne speech in this Guardian file photo.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Premier Robert Ghiz’s assertion that his biggest mistake as premier was bringing in fixed election dates has caught the ire of Green party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

Bevan-Baker argues the province’s democratic institutions were designed to ensure the will of the people is reflected in the legislature.

“The Westminster style of democracy we adopted here in Canada came from a desire to take power away from an unopposed monarch and pass it to the people. Over centuries we have arrived at the electoral system we now use where every adult citizen has an opportunity every four years or so to elect the people they prefer to make our collective decisions,” Bevan-Baker said.

“The painful irony of our current situation on P.E.I. is that by political sleight of hand, Liberals, in crowning King Wade (MacLauchlan), are effectively restoring the unrestricted regal power our democracy sought to eliminate,” said Bevan-Baker.

He pointed out Alberta, which currently has a similar political situation to P.E.I., has seen no need to return to the polls to allow their new premier Jim Prentice to seek a mandate.

“The P.E.I. Liberal attempts to explain the ‘need for an election’ are all bogus nonsense, and have no basis in democratic principles. I only wish that more Islanders would recognize it for what it is naked political opportunism,” said Bevan-Baker.

For Premier Ghiz to call fixed election dates his ‘biggest mistake’ in the context of PNP, Plan B and the Geosweep debacle, is baffling to say the least, he added.

Fixed election dates are a definite improvement to our democracy - they even the playing field, remove political opportunism available to governing parties and allow all parties to prepare financially and otherwise, Bevan-Baker asserts.

They also encourage a wider array of potential candidates to come forward, he said.

Far from Ghiz’s biggest mistake, Bevan-Baker believes fixed election dates could be looked upon as one small glimmer of good governance.

“How about a New Year’s resolution for all Islanders to give up once and for all a really bad habit, one that we have developed over many elections and passed from one generation to the next. Let’s quit voting for people and parties who, above all, look after themselves, and have consistently let us down,” he said.

“It’s time to elect parliamentarians who will carry out their roles as they were originally designed to represent their constituents first and foremost, and abandon mindless slavery to their party.”