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Painting P.E.I. blue and redrawing the map

If the province of P.E.I. had a campaign slogan it would be of the "go big or go home" genre. From Liberal landslides to Tory sweeps, P.E.I. elections have been showy and dramatic changings of the guard. But despite the spectacular overthrows, campaigns have been conducted as a sport of etiquette. CBC has covered the continuing electoral spectacle as Islanders waffled between the Liberal and Tory tides, confronted issues of party patronage, and elected the first woman and non-European premiers in Canada.

It was a historic turning of the tide last night as Conservative Pat Binns led his party to victory, ending a 10-year Liberal reign over P.E.I. Binns, a bean farmer in Hopefield, seized on the Liberal party's declining popularity with promises of tax cuts, balanced budgets and employment initiatives. CBC Television reports on the changing political tides in P.E.I.

The voters themselves made history by casting their votes in a reformed electoral process. After a century of electing two members -- a councillor and an assemblyman -- in 16 ridings, the process has been streamlined. The old voting method, held over from the late 19th century, was unique to P.E.I. But now, in the name of more accurate voting and representation, citizens will elect just one candidate to the legislature in 27 ridings. 
• Pat Binns was born on Oct. 8, 1948, in Alberta. He studied at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and moved to P.E.I. in 1972.
• From 1978 to 1984, Binns sat in the provincial legislature and held the cabinet portfolios of Industry, Municipal Affairs, Fisheries, Environment, Labour and Housing under the MacLean and Lee governments. From 1984 to 1988 he acted as a Conservative MP, serving as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He returned to provincial politics when he captured the provincial leadership in May 1996.

• Binns was returned to elected office in 2000 and captured every legislative seat save one. This constituted the largest Tory majority on the Island ever.

• The two-member riding system was established under the government of Frederick Peters, P.E.I. premier from 1891 to 1893. Before Peters' administration, the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly governed the island's politics. Around this time, other provinces who had the same dual system found the setup redundant and moved to eliminate the legislative council. Peters' government, however, chose to abolish both houses and create a new legislative assembly for which voters elected a councillor and an assemblyman.
Medium: Television
Program: Compass
Broadcast Date: Nov. 18, 1996
Guest(s): Pat Binns, Herb Dickieson
Reporter: John Wedlake
Duration: 3:09

Last updated: March 9, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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