Perry to step down as Opposition leader

Hal Perry is stepping down as Opposition leader on P.E.I.

Caucus to vote again on Opposition leader Thursday, he says

Hal Perry is stepping down as Opposition leader on P.E.I.

Hal Perry was elected Opposition leader, but failed in his bid to be named interim leader. (CBC)

The resignation removes a highly-visible schism in the Progressive Conservative Party, which had two different MLAs holding the positions of Opposition leader and interim party leader.

Perry said he received overwhelming support to stay on, but after a weekend of careful thought he decided to resign.

"I'm going to take that support and for the betterment of our party I think that we should commit to working together," he said.

Perry said he didn't receive a single call asking him to step down.

Perry was elected Opposition leader by the PC caucus on Jan. 30, following the resignation of Olive Crane as leader of both the party and the Opposition. The next day, however, in a vote by both the caucus and the party executive, Steven Myers was made interim leader.

The splitting of the two roles came after Crane suggested that having two leaders was viable. When she resigned as party leader she announced she intended to stay on as Opposition leader. Myers said he believed the two positions should be held by one MLA, while Perry supported Crane's plan.

But Crane reversed her decision in late January. The party, however, failed to reach agreement on one person to take on both roles.

The Myers-Perry split last week led to a public debate within the party regarding whether the two-leader situation was desirable, or even possible under the constitution of the party and rules of the legislature.

Perry said the caucus will meet again on Thursday and another vote will be held to elect a new Opposition leader.

"The leader of the Opposition is chosen by the caucus," he said.

"It's a legislative function, so it's chosen by the five members of our caucus and that will be the official leader of the Opposition."

It is possible, he said, that caucus could elect someone other than Steven Myers again on Thursday.

All party members are invited to a meeting Monday night to discuss how the party should move forward.


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