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ALAN HOLMAN: Wanted: A political leader

James Aylward announces his resignation as the Leader of the PC Party of Prince Edward Island while surrounded by caucus members on Monday.
James Aylward announces his resignation as the Leader of the PC Party of Prince Edward Island while surrounded by caucus members on Monday. - Mitch MacDonald

Aylward to be commended for giving party chance to find new leader before facing next election

BY ALAN HOLMAN

GUARDIAN COLUMNIST

Help Wanted

(advertisement)

exec. pos. with well-known

prov. org. Male or Female -

age 35 - 70 years preferred.

An education would help,

but not required. Business

community involvement,

service club, organizational

exper. all considered an

asset. Having a family would

help, but the successful

applicant may not see much

of them for a few years.

This position involves

long hours and low pay,

but, holds the promise of

possibly great recognition

and personal satisfaction.

Apply to the Progressive

Conservative Assoc of PEI

This week’s resignation of James Aylward as the leader of the provincial Conservatives made it possible to envision such an advertisement running in the employment pages of the local newspapers.

Mr. Aylward’s statement on Monday was followed two days later by a statement from the eight Conservative members of the legislature saying that none of them are interested in, or will be running, for the leadership.

The statement said, the leadership contest is about the “well-being of all Islanders, not individual egos or personal ambitions.”

If the PC caucus wants a political leader without an ego and no ambition, maybe that ad needs to be re-phrased, brushed up a bit.

(Ad, continued)

Paragon of Virtue Wanted

PCs seek self-effacing person with

little or no pride and no desire to change,

someone concerned for others, as their

party leader. Give us a hint of who you are

and we’ll arrange to quietly meet at Tims,

for a chat. No commitments, nothing pushy,

or ambitious, just a little chat.

Look, it’s no fun being a politician and polling at 16 or 20 per cent, so no one blames James Aylward for stepping down. In fact, he’s to be commended for giving the party a chance to find a new leader before facing the next election. Someone who may resonate with the public more than Mr. Aylward was able to, in spite of his best attempts.

And yes, it is important to get out the message that no one has a lock on this. That this will be a wide-open race, and anyone who puts in the time and effort, has a chance of winning.

But, did no one in the caucus think about how negative their collective ‘We’re Not Running’ message was. If, the people who have been involved with the Conservative Party, as candidates, as MLAs, for the past five or ten years don’t want the job, then why would anyone else?

There’s no need for the Tories to panic, they don’t need to rush into a leadership convention this fall. There have been no signs the government will be going to the polls before Christmas.

There have been 40 elections since Confederation. Twenty of them were held in just three months; five in December, eight in April and seven in May. In those 20 elections, the government of the day was only defeated three times, and it never suffered a defeat in December.

There’s the view that if the government called an election when one of the major parties is without a leader, it would be considered the height of crassness, and maybe costly at the polls. If history is any guide, then April or May, or maybe next December would be good guesses for an election date.

With the Green Party polling so strongly it is in the Liberals’ interest to have a tolerably healthy Conservative Party, if, for no other reason than to split the votes of those opposed to the government.

Were there an election today, given the weakened state of the Conservatives, Peter Bevan-Baker could be the recipient of a lot of ballots cast by disgusted, disillusioned Tories. But, by biding their time, and letting the Tories heal a bit, it could just help the Liberals in the long run.

with the Liberals only polling at 35 per cent and their leader stuck in the mid-20s, they also need a little time to do some repair work.

Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at: acholman@pei.eastlink.ca

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