Liberal leader Wade MacLauchlan summed it up simply — when the tide turns, the tide turns.
MacLauchlan watched Tuesday night’s election results with a room full of supporters and party workers in Stanhope.
It was a rather sombre gathering as the Liberal faithful watched as MacLauchlan’s Liberals were reduced from an 18-seat majority to five seats. The mood turned even more glum as MacLauchlan lost his own District 8 Stanhope-Marshfield seat to Progressive Conservative candidate Bloyce Thompson.
“I think it was as simple as the tide turned,’’ MacLauchlan said after consoling a number of supporters after the results in District 8 became official. “We’ve had four years of good government, of responsible government (and) exceptionally good management of the finances of the province.
“We had a good, collegial campaign so Islanders had a choice to consider their options and they’ve elected (26) people to the legislature and those (26) people are going to have some real work to do.’’
Dennis King led his Progressive Conservatives to win the highest number of seats, taking 12 out of 27 seats as of 10 p.m. The impressive turnout, which occurred in the only three-way race seen in P.E.I. political history, represents a massive comeback for the party.
The Green party won eight seats, in the strongest showing of a third party in P.E.I. history and the strongest showing of any Green party in Canada.
Katie Morello, co-chairwoman of the Liberal party campaign, said she couldn’t put her finger on any one reason for the defeat.
“It’s a difficult loss but, as the premier said, the tides turn and sometimes you’re at the other end of that,’’ Morello said. “It was a phenomenal campaign. We’re so proud of our candidates and what they were able to do and proud of our platform.’’
Facts about Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan
- Served as president of UPEI from 1999 to 2011
- He was previously dean of the law school of the University of New Brunswick and a law professor at Dalhousie University
- On Nov. 28, 2014, he announced his candidacy for the leadership of the governing Liberal Party and was acclaimed leader on Feb. 21, 2015
- He was sworn in as the 32nd premier of P.E.I. on Feb. 23, 2015
- He is the first member of the Order of Canada to become premier of a province. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2008, of the Order of P.E.I. in 2014 and in 2010 received the Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s IPAC Award for Excellence in Public Service
- First openly gay premier in Canada. His partner is Duncan McIntosh, the founding artistic director of the Watermark Theatre
MacLauchlan said he’s grateful to have had the chance to serve as premier for the past four years, proud of what the party accomplished as a government and what it leaves to the now governing Progressive Conservatives.
“We’ve had four years of prosperity, four years of progressive and I would say innovative social policy and now we have an opportunity to see a government be formed, likely a minority government going forward,’’ MacLauchlan said.
The outgoing premier wanted to congratulate each and every one of the 111 people who put their name on the ballot in the election, including the 26 people who joined him on the Liberal ticket and the volunteers who helped out.
“I deeply appreciate that friendship, the team that we had.’’
MacLauchlan didn’t have much of a reaction to losing his own seat.
“We worked hard, we got to all the doors . . . we left no stone unturned.’’
The Liberal leader said he doesn’t have any specific plans for the immediate future.
“I will go home and have a good night’s sleep and get up tomorrow morning. I’ll get up tomorrow morning and be proud to be a Prince Edward Islander and proud to have been a candidate. I would say that I did everything I could to present myself to my constituents. It’s democracy. I intend to be a resident of MacMillan Point and West Covehead and to be here with my family and my neighbours and other Islanders to make a success of this great province.’’