New leader would want new mandate, says Webster
Early election debate slated for P.E.I. Legislature
P.E.I. Deputy Premier George Webster has tabled a motion saying political circumstances may warrant the Legislature be dissolved, and an election held outside the fixed election date.
Premier Robert Ghiz announced last week he will resign pending the selection of a new leader.
“The political landscape on P.E.I. has changed over the last week or so with the exodus of our premier,” said Webster Wednesday morning.
“I just think, politically, the legislature needs to discuss that issue. Let’s put it on the table and see where it goes from there.”
Webster said a new Liberal leader would have to have their own mandate.
Under current legislation, P.E.I. is scheduled for an election Oct. 5, 2015.
The motion, seconded by independent MLA Olive Crane, to debate changing that date was tabled Tuesday night. The time stamp says 8:57 p.m., three minutes before the close of the evening sitting of the Legislature.
The motion says government is in the fourth year of its current mandate, that both government and opposition parties are in the process of selecting new leaders, and noted there's a conflict with the federal and provincial fixed election dates.
2 leadership conventions in new year
The Liberals have said they expect to hold a leadership convention in January or February. The Progressive Conservatives are also looking for a leader, and have scheduled a convention for May 30.
The motion does not suggest a date, or even a month for the Legislature to be dissolved and an election held.
Crane told CBC News Wednesday morning she approached the deputy premier with concerns she had that, with the two main parties looking for new leaders, the business of the Legislature isn't getting the attention it deserves.
“People are paying more attention to politicking than actually running the house, and there's some serious issues facing Islanders,” said Crane.
“Government's in the fourth year of their mandate and I really think it's important for Islanders and all the parties to realize that I'm about 99 per cent sure that as soon as the new premier is chosen we will be in an election.”
Since the Liberals are probably going to call an election anyway, Crane said, this motion just moves the discussion forward.
The motion would be non-binding if passed. The lieutenant-governor already has the power to dissolve the Legislature at the premier's request.
No one from government was available to talk about the motion Tuesday night. The earliest the motion could be debated is Thursday unless it receives the unanimous consent of the House.
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