District association ponders options after Ghiz rejects nominee
The Morell-Mermaid District Liberal Association is not sure how to proceed now that P.E.I. Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz has refused to sign the nomination papers for the candidate it elected Saturday.
Ghiz said Wednesday he wouldn't sign Larry McGuire's papers because he was concerned by McGuire's nomination speech that called for the turfing of "fat-cat Tories" from the civil service. McGuire responded that Ghiz's signature doesn't mean anything until an election is called, and he's still the candidate.
"I don't think there has ever been any case like this happened before," said district association president Peter White. White said he supports Ghiz, but at this point he's doesn't know how the district can elect a new candidate.
"I would think that we'll be calling for another nomination. When? I have no idea. We'll have to check with P.E.I. Liberal Association."
White said he's aware some Liberals won't be happy with Ghiz's decision, but believes it will be a minority.
"I received 40 to 50 calls since the nomination, and they were all actually appalled at the speech," he said.
The riding association plans to consult with its lawyers to find out what to do. It may have to wait for an election call, at which point Ghiz's lack of support could prompt a new convention.
McGuire is planning a further statement on his position Friday. He could decide to run as an Independent, or he could try to retain the Liberal nomination.
Liberal Party president Shawn Casey is hoping it won't come to that.
"I think it would be futile, because our leader is on the record as saying that he won't sign his nomination papers," said Casey.
The Morell-Mermaid Liberal Riding Association plans to meet within the next day or two to decide how to deal with the situation.