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P.E.I. Tories win minority government, with Green opposition

Eye In The Sky

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CHARLOTTETOWN -- Voters in P.E.I. have shed their century-old embrace of the Island's two-party system, electing a Tory minority government and handing the upstart Green party official Opposition status for the first time.

With all polls reporting Tuesday, the Tories won 12 seats, the Greens held nine, and the incumbent Liberals, led by Premier Wade MacLauchlan, had won five.

The Greens had led in opinion polls since August, prompting speculation they could be poised to form Canada's first Green government.

Still, their strong showing on election night proved to be a breakthrough for a party that did not hold a seat in the legislature until 2015. That's when party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker won in the general election -- after nine unsuccessful runs for office on the Island and in Ontario.

"Islanders responded (to us) by granting us a record number of seats -- by far the most seats ever by a Green party in Canada," he told a boisterous crowd at the PEI Brewing Company in Charlottetown.

"I'm a strong believer in the capacity of minority government to create a collaborative environment where competing parties can put the interests of constituents and Islanders first."

Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King, a former political staffer and consultant, was elected to lead the party only two months ago. He won the riding of Brackley-Hunter River.

The Tories enjoyed a boost in the polls last month, leaving them in a virtual dead heat with the Greens and Liberals as the campaign began.

The Tory victory represents the latest in a series of gains for right-leaning parties, including wins in Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario -- all within the last year.

Earlier this year, the Island's Progressive Conservatives were largely regarded as a dysfunctional organization, having churned through no less than six leaders in the past eight years.

Despite past infighting within Tory ranks, King was lauded for running a solid campaign, mainly by reinforcing a relentlessly positive message -- a tried-and-true tactic among Island politicians.

A former communications director for former Tory premier Pat Binns, King performed well on the hustings and in a series of decidedly polite leaders debates.

However, the rookie leader's run for office was marred by a mild controversy over a series of tweets that were supposed to be funny, but instead offended some, who criticized them for being sexist and homophobic.

King, who also describes himself as a comedian and story-teller with a progressive political outlook, admitted that some of the tweets were inappropriate.

Among other things, King promised to expand beer and wine sales to convenience stores.

Access to family doctors emerged as a key issue in the campaign. All four parties talked about recruiting more physicians. According to Health PEI, there are 13,083 Islanders on the waiting list for a family doctor

The Greens' rise in popularity generated a national buzz during an otherwise lacklustre campaign.

During the race, Bevan-Baker -- a Scottish-born dentist -- tried to persuade Islanders that the Greens care about more than just the environment, offering a platform that focused on a range of social issues.

The Green leader, who was elected to the legislature as the first Green member in 2015, won his riding of New Haven-Rocky Point.

The Liberals were seeking a fourth term in office, having repeatedly reminded Islanders that the province's economy remains the strongest in the country.

MacLauchlan failed to win his seat.

"It's simple: the tide turned. We've had four years of good government, responsible government and exceptionally good management of the province's finances," he told reporters.

"We left no stone unturned. We presented good policy. We presented a good team and we went and did the work that candidates do."

It wouldn't be a stretch to say P.E.I. is on a tear, posting impressive numbers for higher wages, employment, immigration, housing starts, exports, retail sales and tourism.

However, voters appeared reluctant to give MacLauchlan credit for boosting the economy, a sentiment that was reflected in his relatively low personal popularity ratings.

The Island's New Democrats, led by 57-year-old Joe Byrne, were not in contention in any ridings.

When the legislature was dissolved, the Liberals held 16 seats in the 27-seat legislature, the Tories had eight and the Green party had two seats. There was one Independent.

A total of 14 seats are needed for a majority, but only 26 of the 27 seats were contested Tuesday.

On Saturday, Elections P.E.I. postponed the vote in the district of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park following the deaths of Green party candidate, Josh Underhay, and his young son in a boating mishap on the Hillsborough River.

A byelection will be held in the riding within the next three months.

Aside from the election outcome, voters will also learn the results of a binding referendum on electoral reform, which will determine if Islanders want to keep the first-past-the-post system or change to a mixed member proportional representation model.

 

SeaKingTacco

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I find it equally interesting that, in addition to the Greens forming looking to form the Official Opposition for the first time in Canadian Politics, another Liberal Party saw their vote collapse.

Has the Liberal brand become toxic?
 

Cloud Cover

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Didn’t the PEI liberals ban the fed libs from sticking their snouts into the tourney?
 

Navy_Pete

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SeaKingTacco said:
I find it equally interesting that, in addition to the Greens forming looking to form the Official Opposition for the first time in Canadian Politics, another Liberal Party saw their vote collapse.

Has the Liberal brand become toxic?

I wonder if the recent shenanigans have people looking seriously at the alternatives?  The Green party platform is generally pretty socially liberal, fiscally reasonably conservative, and offers a genuine option. Also, if we don't do some fundamental changes for the environment, our kids won't have a future, so it's not a bad thing to have a strong environmental focus.
 
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Normally I would say don't read into it as many incumbents who had been defeated (Manitoba,Ontario, Quebec and to a lesser extent Alberta) were unpopular due to various reasons. Voter fatigue is a very real thing aswell. By December 2015 all right wing parties had been defeat that year or in the election prior to that year except for those in Yukon,Saskatchewan (Brad Walls massive popularity) and British Columbia (despite being called the BC Liberals the party is right wing than not with more Conservative support ) I think the Greens being this strong and with a pretty reasonable platform is good and should give all parties a wake up call. Next month Newfoundland is going to the polls and given how super Liberal it is federally (I mean cmon Michael Ignatieff won the province decently!) and how it's the only place Trudaue hasn't seen a massive dent in his popularity you would expect Dwight Ball to win again handidly. But with the Conservatives having a house hold name like Che's Crosbie and the NDP having a respectable intellectual named Alison Coffin anything could happen regardless of the Liberal lean Newfoundland has
 

Brad Sallows

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The environment is doing fine without fundamental changes.  Don't hear much about ozone depletion, acid rain, crappy air quality from too many wood-burning appliances in homes and open fires during burning season, etc, anymore.

Fundamental changes might eff things up again.  For example, increase home heating bills and watch the number of wood-burning appliances go up again.

Very early on (2+ decades ago), the Green running in my riding (at that time) could have been described as an eco-leaning libertarian.  But I think they've missed the chance to brand as a not-left party.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Navy_Pete said:
I wonder if the recent shenanigans have people looking seriously at the alternatives?  The Green party platform is generally pretty socially liberal, fiscally reasonably conservative, and offers a genuine option. Also, if we don't do some fundamental changes for the environment, our kids won't have a future, so it's not a bad thing to have a strong environmental focus.

Have you actually heard Elizabeth May speak? Many of her ideas are terrifyingly unworkable and if implemented fully would lead to untold misery, starvation and poverty in Canada.

No thanks.
 

Remius

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Nationally they scare me a bit.

One only has to look at their resolutions on military spending...

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party repeal its current policy of a 50% reduction in armed forces budget and create a new policy mandating the funding and supporting reallocation of resources to alternate conflict resolution, eco system protection, disaster relief, and strengthening of the UN.

That is only one nugget found here:  https://www.greenparty.ca/en/convention-2012/voting/motions/%5Bfield_code-raw%5D-72
 

ballz

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AshleyMarie34 said:
Normally I would say don't read into it as many incumbents who had been defeated (Manitoba,Ontario, Quebec and to a lesser extent Alberta) were unpopular due to various reasons. Voter fatigue is a very real thing aswell. By December 2015 all right wing parties had been defeat that year or in the election prior to that year except for those in Yukon,Saskatchewan (Brad Walls massive popularity) and British Columbia (despite being called the BC Liberals the party is right wing than not with more Conservative support ) I think the Greens being this strong and with a pretty reasonable platform is good and should give all parties a wake up call. Next month Newfoundland is going to the polls and given how super Liberal it is federally (I mean cmon Michael Ignatieff won the province decently!) and how it's the only place Trudaue hasn't seen a massive dent in his popularity you would expect Dwight Ball to win again handidly. But with the Conservatives having a house hold name like Che's Crosbie and the NDP having a respectable intellectual named Alison Coffin anything could happen regardless of the Liberal lean Newfoundland has

Newfoundland votes almost purely on personality and emotions, but Dwight Ball was dealt one of the shittiest hands ever from the PCs (Danny William's fault, but Kathy Dunderdale took the fall for it).... even with the hand he was dealt, Newfoundlanders were still hoping to find Dwight Ball on his own in the woods during moose hunting season all for the crime of trying to right the financial ship before it sank. It's amazing that he has recovered as much he has to be tied for first place. All that to say, if Ches Crosbie wins it really can't be blamed on Trudeau, although most people I know back there don't have much good to say about Trudeau either... but they generally dislike every PM.
 
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