Prince Edward Islanders will go to the polls May 28, and Premier Pat Binns will be going after a victory to put him in the record book.
'Who is the leader you can trust to get the job done?' — Pat Binns
Binns called the election Monday night at his nomination convention at Pinette South. A victory in this election could make him the longest-serving P.E.I. premier in history, a mark he would hit on Jan. 9, 2009.
In his speech before calling the election, Binns made reference to his Progressive Conservative government's record, starting with one of his favourite subjects, community development. He spoke of the bridges built on rural highways, and support for small business outside the Island's two cities.
"We've achieved these things by working as a team, by working with communities," Binns said.
In reference to his own riding, Binns promised that the storage facility for the provincial museum, known as the artifactory, would be built in Murray River.
The premier went on to speak of more general themes — growth in the number of teachers and doctors, and especially job growth.
"We have experienced the largest job growth in the history of our province," he said.
"The choice for Islanders is becoming clear. The question is which team has a record … Who is the leader you can trust to get the job done?"
Pat Binns is seeking a fourth mandate from Prince Edward Islanders.
The dropping of the writ was no surprise, as calling an election from his own nominating convention has become standard procedure for Binns. Media were out in force at the event.
The Liberals were also planning to launch their election campaign from the nominating convention of Ron MacKinley, the party's longest-serving MLA.
The call comes about three and a half years into the Progressive Conservatives' mandate. The last election — the third victory in a row for the Tories — was in September 2003.
The calling of this election brings to an end the tradition of the premier deciding when to go the polls. During the brief spring session, a new law was passed to fix election dates. Under that legislation, barring a highly unlikely minority government, the next election will be May 9, 2011.
One more haircut
Ever since Binns began running for public office, he's preceded the campaign with a haircut from his barber, Ralph Billard. This time, he went one step further, getting his hair cut on the stage just after winning his nomination, and before fully ramping up for the election call.
When asked about the haircut earlier Monday, Binns said he'd heard Billard might be retiring. When Billard came on to the stage for the haircut, Binns took the opportunity to tease the crowd.
"If you've got one left, I've got one left," he said.
Billard countered that Binns did have trouble with one election he had cut the premier's hair for, a reference to Binns's loss of his federal seat in eastern Prince Edward Island in 1988.
"I'll tell you what, we're not going to miss this one," Binns responded.
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- Hasty promises, desire for change sank P.E.I. Tories
- Pat Binns and his Progressive Conservatives went down to defeat in Monday's Prince Edward Island election, at least in part because of how two campaign promises fed into Islanders' growing appetite for change.
- Liberal wave fails to flood Eastern P.E.I.
- Progressive Conservative candidates picked up all of their handful of successes in the eastern part of Prince Edward Island on Monday, as Liberals swept the rest of the province.
- Liberals sweep crucial districts
- The Liberal party took every key district they needed for victory Monday night, and then some.
- 6 ministers defeated as P.E.I. cabinet trounced
- Six of Pat Binns's cabinet ministers fell and two were re-elected as P.E.I. voters bounced the Progressive Conservative government out of office Monday night.