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Green surge a first for P.E.I.

John A. Dewar served as an independent MLA from 1919-1923. He won an election in his riding after the Liberals opted not to run a candidate against him. -The Island Magazine

Greens have made history, but history may favour the Liberals

The provincial Green Party have already made history in Prince Edward Island, according to UPEI history professor Ed MacDonald.

No party aside from the PC’s or the Liberals has ever had such a strong showing in election polls since opinion polls came to be frequently used on P.E.I. in the 1950’s.

The Green Party currently has two elected members – Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and Charlottetown-Parkdale MLA Hannah Bell.

Individuals from parties other than the Liberals and Tories have been elected to office in P.E.I. in the past, but this has been a rarity and no third party has elected more than one member.

In fact, MacDonald could think of only two third party candidates who have been elected since 1873: John Dewar and Herb Dickieson.

Herb Dickieson of the New Democratic Party won a seat in West Point-Bloomfield in 1996. -Contributed
Herb Dickieson of the New Democratic Party won a seat in West Point-Bloomfield in 1996. -Contributed


John Dewar was elected, under the banner of the Independent Farmers of P.E.I., in 1919. Dewar had been a Conservative, but had left the party after a dispute over a party nomination. The Liberals did not run a candidate in his riding, 3rd King’s, in the 1919 election. He served one term.

Dickieson was elected as a New Democrat in West Point-Bloomfield in 1996, edging out Liberal candidate Fairly Yeo by 138 votes. He served one term.

Looking at the last 148 years of P.E.I.’s history, MacDonald said the Liberal party has usually been the dominant party. Since 1873, the Liberals have governed a combined total of 90 years to the Tories’ 56.

"The Liberals tend to get elected. It's an anomaly when someone else gets elected," MacDonald said.

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