CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - West Royalty-Springvale MLA Bush Dumville has resigned as a member of Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s Liberal caucus and will sit as an independent member of the legislature.
Dumville has so far remained silent, despite multiple requests for comment.
In an interview with The Guardian this afternoon, MacLauchlan said Dumville showed up to his office this morning and handed him a brief letter of resignation.
MacLauchlan says the reason for his departure stems from a founding meeting last week to form a new executive for Dumville’s District 15.
This district will change in the next election as a result of recent changes to P.E.I.’s electoral map. The district has new boundaries and has been renamed - going from West-Royalty-Springvale to Brackley-Hunter River.
During the meeting on Thursday night, several of the executive positions were contested. The person Dumville was supporting for president did not win.
Dumville was unhappy about this and this was the reason he gave to the premier for his resignation from the party.
“There was a call for nominations from the floor,” MacLauchlan said.
“It’s an open and inclusive and democratic process and I’m delighted to walk into a meeting and find the hall full or to see them putting out additional chairs, that’s positive indication for our party.”
In a statement issued earlier today, MacLauchlan said he expects his caucus MLAs to respect the values of inclusiveness and democracy, and added that it “has been clear for some time that Mr. Dumville has struggled to share the values of our Liberal caucus and Liberal party.”
MacLauchlan explained that Dumville expressed concern over the fact his own nomination was contested in the 2015 provincial election campaign, despite the fact Dumville was the incumbent MLA for the district. It's an event that he has not been able to move on from, MacLauchlan said.
“It’s certainly been something that there have been many conversations about.”
Dumville was first elected to the legislative assembly in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.
His resignation leaves the governing Liberals with 16 seats in the legislative assembly.
MacLauchlan acknowledges this means he has one fewer member of his caucus, but he believes this development leaves his party “stronger in the principles that we stand by.”
“We are committed to building strong district associations and we absolutely believe in an open and democratic process and for lots of new people to get involved.”
The Guardian’s multiple requests for comment to Dumville have so far gone unanswered.
The last time an MLA left their party to sit as an independent in P.E.I. was in 2013 when the Progressive Conservatives kicked former leader Olive Crane out of the PC caucus.