I'm still a Liberal candidate, says McGuire

Larry McGuire says he's still a P.E.I. Liberal candidate despite the party leader's refusal to sign his nomination papers.

Larry McGuire says he's stilla P.E.I. Liberal candidate despite the party leader's refusal to sign his nomination papers.

"Those papers don't matter diddly squat until they call a provincial election. Until then, I'm a candidate," McGuire told CBC News aftera news conference Wednesday.
Larry McGuire is planning a more complete response to Ghiz on Friday. ((CBC))

McGuire won the nomination for Morell-Mermaid at a weekend meeting in Mount Stewart, wherehe was upagainst three other candidates. But his remarks that night regarding patronage raised concerns about a return to old-style politics on the Island.

Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz announced Wednesday morning he would not sign McGuire's nomination papers.

But McGuire is not ready to give up the nomination.

"I'm going to take a day or two to think things through, and have a coherent response hopefully by Friday. But for the time being, I'm still the Morell-Mermaid Liberal candidate. I was elected last Saturday evening in Mount Stewart, clear majority out of four candidates, and to my mind that still stands."

In his nomination speech, McGuire told the crowd that if the Liberals win the next provincial election, a lot of "fat-cat Tories" would be tossed out of the civil service.

NDP Leader Dean Constableworried the remarks suggested a possible return to old-style political patronage on P.E.I. He said Monday that Ghiz should not accept McGuire as a candidate.

Ghiz decided Constable was right.
Robert Ghiz said he shared the concerns of Islanders about a return to patronage politics. ((CBC))

"Like many Islanders, I was concerned by what I heard," said Ghiz.

"It is a speech that espouses the virtues of old-style patronage. At the same, it is a speech that is wholly inconsistent with the position of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island."

Ghiz's refusal to support McGuire places his candidacy in limbo.

With the support of the convention, McGuire is the candidate, but without the support of Ghiz, he cannot represent the Liberals in a future election.

When the Progressive Conservatives returned to power in 1996 following 10 years of Liberal rule,a purge of the civil serviceled to almost 900 complaints of political discrimination.

Ten years later, two of the complaintsare outstanding, and a recent court ruling that legislation limiting compensation was unconstitutional could reopen many cases previously settled.