A sidebar to the recent Green Party victory in District 11 is what pundits describe as the slide towards irrelevance of the NDP P.E.I. Since garnering impressive vote totals in the 2015 general election, the NDP has finished a distant fourth in consecutive byelections in Summerside and Charlottetown, even as the Greens have surged. Hannah Bell scored her impressive win in District 11 in part because no significant NDP vote materialized to drain votes away from the Greens.
To remain relevant, and in the absence of any form of proportional representation in the province, the NDP P.E.I. must begin to explore the drafting of a contract with the Greens to ensure that there is no future fracturing of the progressive vote. The most elementary tactic is for both parties not to run candidates against the respective party leaders in their districts.
Additionally, each party must realistically consider supporting the progressive vote in any district where the other party has an impressive, electable candidate and traditionally strong vote totals (e.g. District 11). There is no shame in taking a pass in a district, rather than dividing the Left.
Unquestionably, the Green Party presently has the wind at its back, due in no small part to its organizational skills and effective leadership, but 2015 vote totals showed that the NDP has had opportunities for growth as well, under the right circumstances. Members of both parties' Provincial Councils must see their way clear to discover where coordination with the other group can lead.