Currie to run in Cardigan

A long-serving member of the legislative assembly in Prince Edward Island is leaving provincial politics for a shot at unseating MP Lawrence MacAulay in Cardigan.
Mike Currie is seeking to be the Conservative candidate in the federal riding of Cardigan. ((CBC))
A long-serving member of the legislative assembly in Prince Edward Island is leaving provincial politics for a shot at unseating MP Lawrence MacAulay in Cardigan.

Progressive Conservative MLA Mike Currie announced his intention to be a candidate on Monday afternoon.

"I am here to announce my intention to seek the Conservative nomination for the federal riding of Cardigan," Currie said in front of a cheering crowd of about 100 people.

Currie is a former provincial cabinet minister, representing the district of Georgetown-St. Peters since 1996. He was both the minister of transportation and the minister of industry in the Pat Binns government.

"They tell me they need me in a higher calling and that I can do more for them, especially when you're inside a government," Currie told reporters.

"When I took that all into consideration that certainly helped with my decision, and plus the fact that my family — and a lot of people from across P.E.I., I might add — called in support to tackle this challenge and I'm really thrilled about it."

Currie is trying to unseat MacAulay, who has held the riding of Cardigan for the Liberals for 23 years. MacAulay said Monday that if Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper forms a majority government, many federal programs will be cut.

"Harper is certainly not a Progressive Conservative. He's a Conservative, he's a coalition of the Alliance and the Reform Party, we know what their principles are. Am I scared of that? Sure I'm very concerned about that," he said.

Lawrence MacAulay has been the Liberal MP for Cardigan for the past 23 years. (CBC)
"I look at eastern Prince Edward Island, I look at the fisheries and I look at the churches and schools out there and I just wonder what would happen if the policies that they represent and took to Ottawa would be put in place. It would be devastating."

Currie said Cardigan's voters will have to decide whether they want a member of Parliament in opposition or one in a new Conservative government.

"Nobody owns the seat. There's no seat in Prince Edward Island that's owned by any one person, the people own the seat," said Currie.

"I think the people in Cardigan are going to see that they want a member of Parliament that's going to be on the government side."

Void in provincial opposition

Currie's decision to run for a federal seat leaves a void in the Progressive Conservative party. The party is now down to two members — Olive Crane and Jim Bagnall.

Crane and Bagnall face one more legislative session before the provincial election in October.

"The Opposition is quite ready to go into the legislature next week. We open on Tuesday, and both Jim [Bagnall] and I are quite prepared. We have lots of experience and we will have all the questions to the Ghiz administration, especially on their mismanagement of the province's finances," Crane told CBC News.

"Today is Mike Currie's day and he is a terrific politician as an MLA and now he's going to be a wonderful politician as a federal MP for Cardigan."

Currie won't officially be the Conservative candidate for Cardigan until Friday, when the party will hold its nominating convention.