Ghiz wins Liberal leadership

Robert Ghiz, son of late premier Joe Ghiz, wins P.E.I. Liberal leadership

Robert Ghiz followed in the footsteps of his late father, Joe, as he won the leadership of Prince Edward Island's Liberal Party Saturday.

He won by 161 votes over former cabinet minister Alan Buchanan at the party's convention at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.

Waving red and white bandanas, thousands of party faithful packed into the convention centre to see the Ghiz legacy continue.

Buchanan recently left his job with Alliant Telecom to take up the challenge for the leadership.

He was a member of the legislature under the Catherine Callbeck government, which brought in a 7.5-per-cent rollback to civil servant wages. Many of those workers say they haven't forgotten that breach of contract.

Ghiz has promoted himself as a fresh face for the party. In the run-up to the vote, he tried to sign up young people to the party membership.

His father became Liberal leader in 1981, then premier in 1986. He was elected to a second term in 1989. Joe Ghiz died in 1996 after a battle with cancer.

While Robert Ghiz says he's proud of his late father's accomplishments, he maintains he wants to put his own mark on the Liberal Party. He says the first task is to build party support across the island.

The Liberals currently hold only one seat in the provincial legislature.

Ghiz will succeed Ron MacKinley, who took over as interim leader after the Liberals lost the 2000 provincial election.