As Premier Pat Binns prepares to attend the opening of the fall session of the legislature, he has taken the time to assure Islanders he is not planning to call an election this year.
'The house session itself tends to be remembered for something other than what everybody thought.' — Premier Pat Binns
The Opposition Liberals have started nominating candidates and have been openly speculating that the premier is planning an early election. Binns was elected to his latest mandate in September 2003.
"I think I was hearing a little while ago that I was supposed to call the election on Nov. 10. Obviously Nov. 10 has come and gone," Binns told CBC News Wednesday.
"I've heard it's going to be called for some time in mid-December. I can tell you categorically that's not true either."
Seniors, students among priorities
The fall session of the provincial legislature begins Thursday afternoon with Lt.-Gov. Barbara Hagerman's first speech from the throne.
The last session ended with hard feelings between the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals.
It was a rare week-long summer sitting, called expressly to discuss a new electoral map. But the Liberals were so upset with what they called Tory gerrymandering of the process they refused to participate in the debate, walking out of the house.
Binns says in his experience there's only one thing you can be sure of as a legislature session opens.
"I've always found that the house session itself tends to be remembered for something other than what everybody thought it was going to be going in. There's always an element of surprise," said Binns.
While he can't be sure what this fall session will be remembered for, Binns has set some priorities for the government.
"We've wanted to do more things for seniors.We've wanted to do more things for young people. We've wanted to make P.E.I. more competitive in terms of being able to continue to attract industry," he said.
"The themes that you will see in this throne speech will follow up on that."
As for his party's relationship with the Liberals, Binns prefers to turn the question around, toward the Liberals' relationship with each other.
"I can't predict what the Opposition might do," he said, before making reference to Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz's refusal to sign the nomination papers for Larry McGuire, who won the nominationin Morell-Mermaid.
"We've seen that there's been a fair bit of infighting with the Liberals themselves."
There was one prediction Binns was willing to make. While not saying when the next election would be, Binns did confirm he is not moving to federal politics, and he would be leading the provincial party in the next election.