Olive Crane announced at public meeting in Souris Tuesday night she no longer has an interest in any kind of leadership role within P.E.I.'s Progressive Conservative Party.

'She just is not getting the respect from within the party.' — MLA Hal Perry

Crane told CBC News after the meeting she's walking away because of incessant backstabbing from some within the party.

Last month, on the final day of the legislature, Crane resigned as party leader effective Jan. 30. But she had a huge smile as she announced she would continue as Opposition leader.

"Our caucus this morning surprised me to tell me that they are demanding that I actually stay as leader of the opposition and have great support," she said at that time.

But that support appears to have been fleeting. Crane announced her resignation as Opposition leader at a meeting protesting federal employment insurance changes.

"Everybody knows I've stepped aside as leader of our party. Tomorrow, I'm stepping aside as leader of the opposition," she said.

Last night's announcement caught many off guard, including MLA Hal Perry. Perry announced Tuesday he was running for the position of interim leader, and he supported Crane continuing as Opposition leader.


Olive Crane annouces her resignation as Opposition leader at public meeting in Souris. (CBC)

"She just is not getting the respect from within the party. There's a Twitter account, anonymously, that are out slandering her," he said.

"That's terrible. And it's gutter politics."

PC Party president Blake Doyle said Crane's resignation as Opposition leader will at least make things less confusing as the party seeks new direction.

"The concept of having two different positions appeared to be quite confusing to many people," said Doyle.

"Opening both positions paves the way to unify the dual roles, and we'll have potentially one voice representing both elements of the party."

Crane suggested in her speech that it was not just the provincial party that was frustrating her.

"I am a Progressive Conservative. I am not a reform conservative," she at both the beginning and the end of her speech.

"I am tired, sick to death, of ordinary Islanders' struggle, and nobody is standing up ... I am staying on as MLA, and boy oh boy watch out, because now I am going to be able to talk every day and push both levels of government."

CBC News has learned the party executive and the five PC MLAs will vote Thursday on who will replace Crane as interim leader.

For mobile device users: Should Olive Crane have stayed on as Opposition leader?