Timeline for next election remains murky as Green MLA presses premier

The timeline for the next provincial election was brought into question at the P.E.I. legislature Friday, and it's not any clearer when it's going to be.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan would not give a specific answer when asked if there'd be an election this year

'I'll make this a really simple and clear question: do you intend to call an election between now and the end of 2018, no, or yes?' Green MLA Hannah Bell asked. (Government of P.E.I.)

The timeline for the next provincial election was brought into question at the P.E.I. legislature Friday, and it's not any clearer when it's going to be.

Green MLA Hannah Bell pressed Premier Wade MacLauchlan as to why there was a "haste" to appoint a referendum commissioner by June 1 if the provincial election isn't being held until Oct. 2019.

The commissioner is being appointed to oversee the vote on electoral reform happening alongside the next provincial election.

"So, once again premier, I'll make this a really simple and clear question: do you intend to call an election between now and the end of 2018, no, or yes?" said Bell.

"I'm glad to note, Mr. Speaker, that I was given the choice of answers in alphabetical order," said MacLauchlan with a laugh that was echoed by the Liberal caucus.

"Our Election's Act offers a number of options when it comes to when the next election may take place … Most of us can see that in the fall of 2019 there's another election taking place and I hope all of us will have that in mind."

Fixed-date election exceptions

According to the fixed date in P.E.I.'s Election Act, the next provincial vote should take place on Oct. 7, 2019, but with two caveats:

  • If there's a federal election that month — as there's scheduled to be — P.E.I.'s legislation would push its election date into April 2020.
  • The premier has the ability to ask the lieutenant-governor to prorogue the current legislative assembly and call an election at any time.

Speculation about an early election date arose following MacLauchlan's January cabinet shuffle

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