Dumville's resignation: what it means, and how it looks for the Liberals

A day after it was announced he resigned from the Liberal caucus, West Royalty-Springvale MLA Bush Dumville has maintained his silence.

Liberal Party faces a perception problem, says UPEI political science professor

Bush Dumville has been silent on the reasons for his resignation from the Liberal caucus on Wednesday. (Province of P.E.I.)

A day after it was announced he resigned from the Liberal caucus, West Royalty-Springvale MLA Bush Dumville has maintained his silence.

Dumville told CBC next week would be the earliest he would discuss his decision to resign from Liberal caucus.

He handed in his resignation to the premier on Wednesday morning and will now be sitting as an independent in the legislature.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan suggested the resignation had to do with Dumville being upset at the nomination process in the new District 15 and lingering bitterness about facing a nomination contest in 2015 as an incumbent MLA.

Where will he sit?

As a new independent, Dumville has been removed from the standing committees he's a member of, according to Ryan Reddin, a legislative clerk assistant. If he wants to be put back on those committees, he will have to request that and get approval from the Committee on Committees during the next sitting.

He will also have to have the house leaders agree on how much time and when he can ask questions and speak in the legislature — however the final say on this will be up to the speaker.

They will also need to find a new office for Dumville and determine where he'll sit in the legislature. There have been about nine independent members since 1873, Reddin said. The last independent was Olive Crane in 2013.

Opposition recruiting?

UPEI political science professor Don Desserud said the now independent MLA may have some options across the aisle.

"He is a sitting MLA with a lot of experience so I would be surprised if other parties were not at least considering this, the NDP as well," he said. "I think every party at this point would say here is a chance, whether it's a long term relationship or something of convenience, that is the way party politics work but I would be surprised if the other parties were not at least considering making that phone call."

Perception problem

Desserud said that the resignation doesn't look good for the Liberal Party, coming on the heels of some key cabinet resignations and the party's loss in the District 11 byelection to the Green Party.

"They do have a bit of a problem with perception," Desserud said. "There's a pattern that it looks like it's developing here, three cabinet ministers now resigning, we had a byelection that did not go the way the Liberals wanted it to, we've had some polling numbers that are not trending the way they would like.

"Put all that together, that's ammunition for the opposition parties."

Dumville has been a MLA for District 15 as a member of the Liberal Party since 2007.