PEI

New candidate for Liberals in Morell- Mermaid

The Liberal Party of P.E.I. nominated a new candidate in Morell-Mermaid Thursday night, after Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz refused to sign the nomination papers of the candidate elected in October.

The Liberal Party of P.E.I. nominated a new candidate in Morell-Mermaid Thursday night, after Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz refused to sign the nomination papers of the candidate elected in October.

Close to 200 Liberals came out to the Fort Augustus Rec Centreto nominate a candidate for the riding.

Doug Deacon, owner of the Trailside Café, won the nomination by acclamation.

"I have no interest in fighting with Liberals. Our fight is with the Tories," said Deacon.

Spectre of patronage

Four candidates ran in the November convention, where Deacon finished fourth. Larry McGuire won the nomination that night, and initially received the support of Ghiz.

But McGuire's campaign speech, in which he came out in support of political patronage, came back to haunt him and the party. A few days, later Ghiz announced he would not sign McGuire's nomination papers.

McGuire continued to campaign as the Liberal candidate, and there was speculation he would turn up at the meeting and seek the nomination from the floor, or that his wife might run, but the meeting went ahead without controversy.

With this new nomination, the party hopes to put the incident behind it.

"No one ever says that everything goes according to plan," said Ghiz.

"We want to take a new step, with a new vision, in this province. I'm just happy to see we've had a great night and we've got a great candidate in Doug Deacon."

Deacon said he doesn't feel like the second-choice candidate.

"I feel very pleased and privileged and honoured to have the nomination," he said.

"It's a very difficult process to go through to get to a political nomination. I don't think that having a unanimous convention is a bad thing. It helps to show where we've reached consensus and what we have to build on."

Deacon said he'll be on the campaign trail later Friday morning, preparing for what many Islanders believe will be a spring provincial election.

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