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CHEERS AND JEERS: Elections P.E.I.'s incomprehensible vote tabulating decision

Liberal candidate Bob Doiron, right, is surrounded by supporters at his campaign headquarters Monday evening as they watch results come in from the District 11 byelection. Doiron finished second to Green party candidate Hannah Bell. (Teresa Wright/The Guardian)
Liberal candidate Bob Doiron, right, is surrounded by supporters at his campaign headquarters Monday, Nov. 27, as they await results to come in from the District 11 byelection. -Teresa Wright

JEERS: To Elections P.E.I., which ensured that results from Monday’s byelection would be delayed until after 9 p.m. that night by an incomprehensible decision about vote tabulation. Instead of officials and scrutineers from each of the 11 polls counting the ballots simultaneously – as is always done during a general election - it was decided to have three teams assemble and divvy up the ballot boxes between them. It meant each team had at least three boxes to count and some had four. Each group could only count one ballot box at a time so shortly after 7:45 p.m., three polls were released, and just after 8:45 p.m., three more were done and so on. All polls in Charlottetown-Parkdale on Nov. 27 were located inside Eastlink Centre, instead of the usual 11 separate locations, but it shouldn’t matter. The three-team decision ensued that vote counting would take three times as long as usual. And the alarming part – Elections P.E.I. couldn’t understand why results were slow coming in.

Related: No apologies from Elections P.E.I. for slow-moving byelection results

JEERS: To critics who suggest that a reason why Green Party candidate Hannah Bell won in Charlottetown-Parkdale was because she was the only candidate who lived in the riding. And that the other three candidates had parachuted into District 11, and were punished accordingly by voters. Progressive Conservative candidate Melissa Hilton and Liberal Bob Doiron are members of Charlottetown City Council and represent wards which include portions of Charlottetown-Parkdale and thus already represent many voters in that riding. NDP Leader Mike Redmond was born and raised in that district and has deep roots there. Candidates deserve congratulations for putting their names forward instead of being unfairly attacked as ‘carpet-baggers.’ Bell won on her own merits and not because of residency.

Related: P.E.I. Green party’s Hannah Bell wins byelection in Charlottetown-Parkdale

CHEERS: To youthful armed forces veteran Tyler Coady of Charlottetown for donating a significant portion of his Canavoy property to the Island Nature Trust (INT). The recent quarterly newsletter of the INT revealed the generous donation by the Afghanistan vet, who was injured in action by an improvised explosive device. Tyler felt strongly that the sanctity of land is of immense value and that donating property that is ecologically significant was something meaningful. The donation ensures that Jeremiah, a 110-year-old red oak that stands in the new Canavoy Oaks Natural Area, is officially protected, along with adjacent coastal property. Coady’s uncle is well-known Island naturalist Daryl Guignion.

Related: Charlottetown veteran holds fond memories of military life, despite shattering end to career

CHEERS: To Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry for continuing a popular tradition by welcoming all Islanders to the annual Government House Christmas Open House at Fanningbank. This tradition provides the opportunity to view decorations and listen to live seasonal music inside the vice-regal residence. The 2017 open house takes place today (Monday, Dec. 4) and Her Honour will greet guests at her first open house from noon to 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There is no admission charge. The viewing areas of Government House are wheelchair accessible and parking is available on the grounds for those with mobility limitations.

Related: Antoinette Perry installed as new P.E.I. lieutenant-governor in Tignish

CHEERS: TO Michaela Wipond, a third-year English major from Calgary, Alta., the first recipient of the Avery Scholarship, established in appreciation of the legacy of famed P.E.I. author L.M. Montgomery. In the fictional Anne of Green Gables, the Avery Scholarship was an object of fierce competition between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe and now the Avery Award is a very real, new award at UPEI. Wipond fell in love with the writings of Montgomery at an early age and her love of Montgomery brought her to UPEI. The Avery Award comes with a $1,000 cash prize, and an opportunity to work with mentor Melanie Fishbane, a social media co-ordinator and member of the management committee of the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

Related: Student with insatiable love for L.M. Montgomery readings is honoured by Avery Award

CHEERS: TO P.EI. Sen. Diane Griffin who was elected as chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. The mandate of the committee is to examine legislation and to study issues related to agriculture and forestry. Sen. Griffin says, “It’s a real honour to have been elected by my peers to be the chair of this committee. I view this committee as a place for farmers, foresters, conservationists, and rural Canadians.” Having worked in conservation for all of her career, Sen. Griffin says she is excited to review policies and legislation related to farmlands and forests, which are important topics for Prince Edward Island.

Related: Diane Griffin new member of Senate from P.E.I.

CHEERS: To Sekisui Diagnostics P.E.I. for being recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The company, which provides in-vitro diagnostic kits and supporting chemicals for hospitals and clinics worldwide made the Top 100 List published this month by Mediacorp Canada Inc. and was selected from 7,500 employers from across the country. Sekisui was one of only five companies from Atlantic Canada recognized. Last year, Sekisui was named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers. This year, the company was also recognized as one of the top companies in the country for hiring recent graduates. To help keep up with growing manufacturing demands, Sekisui completed a multi-million-dollar expansion in the summer of 2017 at their West Royalty Industrial Park facilities in Charlottetown.

Related: A big investment for bioscience company located on P.E.I.

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