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P.E.I. Elections: The lone Liberal Ron McKinley

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.

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They won a third of the votes but only picked up one of 27 seats. In the 2000 provincial election, the Liberal party was crushed as a Tory tide swept the province. Only one Liberal, Ron McKinley, was elected and some feel it's time to re-evaluate the electoral system.

Some pundits suggest that the province should switch to a proportional representation system. With the proposed system some MLAs would be elected on the basis of the percentage of the popular vote their parties earn. In this CBC Television documentary Premier Pat Binns discusses the possibility of this radical change with opponents and proponents of the system. 
• Binns has indicated he is in favour of a mixed system where some candidates are elected in the traditional method and others based on the percentage of their party's popular vote.
• When Ron McKinley called in sick for two days with a bout of the flu, the legislature had to develop a creative solution to fill question period. The Conservatives invited the media to submit questions which were subsequently asked by backbenchers.

• On Sept. 28, 2003, PC Premier Pat Binns returned to power for a third time, winning 23 of the Island's 27 seats. The Liberals captured the remaining four seats, up from just one seat in the previous election in 2000. Their new leader was Robert Ghiz, son of the late premier Joe Ghiz. The New Democrats under Gary Robichaud were shut out once again, and dropped to just three per cent of the popular vote.

• Countries that use proportional representation include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
• In November 2005, P.E.I. held a plebiscite to determine whether the province's electoral system should be reformed. Prince Edward Islanders voted No — 63.58 per cent were against electoral reform, with 36.42 per cent voting Yes.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: July 23, 2001
Guest(s): Pat Binns, Andrew Cousins, Ron McKinley, Pat Mella, Lorne Nystrom, Merrill Wigginton
Reporter: Sara Fraser
Duration: 7:19

Last updated: March 9, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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