'Be bold, be courageous' new P.E.I. premier tells his cabinet

A new Progressive Conservative government was sworn in on P.E.I. Thursday morning.

'The success of this mandate will be judged by the performance of the members of all three parties'

P.E.I.'s new government cabinet was sworn in May 9 in Georgetown under PC Leader Dennis King. King, centre-left, standing with his cabinet, was sworn in by Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry, centre-right. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

A new Progressive Conservative government was sworn in on P.E.I. Thursday morning.

Dennis King was sworn in as premier, along with an eight-member cabinet, by Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry at 11 a.m. in Georgetown.

  • Dennis King, premier, responsible for intergovernmental affairs, Indigenous relations, Acadian and francophone affairs.
  • Darlene Compton, deputy premier, Finance, responsible for status of women.
  • James Aylward, Health and Wellness, responsible for greater Charlottetown.
  • Steven Myers Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.
  • Jamie Fox, Fisheries and Communities.
  • Matthew MacKay, Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, responsible for Greater Summerside.
  • Brad Trivers, Education and Lifelong Learning; Environment, Water and Climate Change.
  • Ernie Hudson, Social Development and Housing.
  • Bloyce Thompson, Agriculture and Land; Justice and Public Safety; Attorney General.
'We're going to hit the ground running tomorrow,' says Premier Dennis King. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

King assigned Sidney MacEwen to a special commission that will work with the Partnership for Growth, a group of Island businesses, and other community organizations to develop sustainable economic growth strategies.

Speaking after the cabinet was sworn in, King grew emotional in thanking the lieutenant-governor for accommodating him in holding the ceremony in Georgetown, the place where he was born, with his friends and family present.

"My mom is here and I wish she would stop crying so I could pull myself together," he said.

King returned to the theme of co-operation and collaboration, prominent during the campaign and after the election.

"Islanders are watching us. They have given us their confidence. They want us to work together. Let's give them want they want," he said.

"The success of this mandate will be judged by the performance of the members of all three parties."

He offered this advice to the members of his new cabinet.

"I encourage you to lead with confidence, and lead with humility. Always with the best interests of P.E.I. at heart, and embrace this wonderful challenge that lies before us. Be bold, be courageous, be different, be kind, co-operate with your legislative colleagues, be open to good ideas, share the credit, put the interests of Islanders at the heart of every decision," he said.

"If we do that we will be living up to the oaths we have sworn on this stage here this morning."

'Islanders are watching us. They have given us their confidence,' says King. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Responding to a question about who would be speaker of the legislature, King said that hasn't come up in caucus discussions yet. He said he didn't intend to whip votes on the question, and he felt there were many, many good candidates for the job.

"I hope that members of all parties, perhaps, run," said King.

"I'm prepared to let the members of the legislature decide that."

No Liberals or Greens

Shortly after the election King suggested a mixed-party cabinet was possible, but in the end he opted for an all PC cabinet.

King's Progressive Conservatives won the most seats in the legislature in the April 23 election with 12. The Green Party won eight and the Liberals six. It is the first minority government on the Island since the 19th century.

Dennis King arrives in Georgetown to be sworn in as premier of P.E.I. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

One seat is still to be decided. A byelection must be held in Charlottetown-Hillsborough following the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay during the campaign.

Students from Georgetown Elementary were invited to the ceremony, and sang the national anthem. King is a former student of the school.

King has said he intends to have a legislature sitting starting in mid-June. The sitting would include a throne speech and budget.

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