PEI

Premier Dennis King says timing right for Cornwall-Meadowbank byelection

Premier Dennis King says he had to dodge a federal election and the fourth wave of COVID-19, but he believes now is the right time to send the people of Cornwall-Meadowbank to the polls. 

'It's important for the people of Cornwall-Meadowbank to have a voice in the legislature so here we go'

Premier Dennis King, left, congratulates Mark McLane after he was given the nod as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Cornwall-Meadowbank. McLane was unopposed for the nomination. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Premier Dennis King says he had to dodge a federal election and the fourth wave of COVID-19, but he believes now is the right time to send the people of Cornwall-Meadowbank to the polls. 

The premier called the election Monday for Nov. 15. 

This will be the third election for some in the district, with a municipal byelection earlier this year and a federal election last month.

"I committed at the time when Heath [MacDonald] resigned that we would have a byelection so that the elected member could sit in the legislature this fall and I think the timelines line up for that," King said following the nominating meeting held Monday night at the Cornwall Curling Club.

"It's important for the people of Cornwall-Meadowbank to have a voice in the legislature so here we go." 

'Politics can be a difficult business'

The seat became vacant after former Liberal MLA Heath MacDonald resigned to run as the Liberal candidate in the federal riding of Malpeque.

King said there was lots of interest in the PC nomination in Cornwall-Meadowbank but in the end only one candidate put their name forward. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

MacDonald won that seat. 

King said there was lots of interest in the nomination. He said 10 to 12 candidates were considered and a large percentage of those were women. 

Only two of the party's 14 MLAs are women.

"Each individual makes their own decision on whether they are going to run or not based on a variety of different issues, most of them personal, and at this particular time most of the people we interviewed or who expressed interest initially didn't really want to follow through," said King.

"Politics can be a difficult business for a lot of people. It's sometimes very personal. It can be backbiting and a lot of your life is played out on the front page of the paper or on television every night. So that doesn't appeal to everybody." 

Candidates for the district 

Advance polls will take place on Nov. 6, 8 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters will receive a voter information card prior to the first advance voting day.

Parties are already in the process of nominating candidates. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

People can update their voter information and find more details about the byelection on the Elections P.E.I. website.

Mark McLane was nominated as the Progressive Conservative candidate at a party meeting on Monday.

Todd MacLean was uncontested for the nomination for the Greens.

Glen "Barney" Fullerton, Shemla Tawil-MacIsaac, Jon Dugal, Jane MacIsaac and Sharon Cameron will be running for the Liberal Party nomination. The meeting to elect the candidate will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the North River fire hall.

The P.E.I. NDP says the party will have a candidate "shortly."

The deadline for candidate nomination is Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.

'Championed my cause' 

McLane, who is taking a leave as the executive director of Golf P.E.I., said he is excited to be representing the PC party in Cornwall-Meadowbank. He acknowledged it will be a challenge to change the district, which has been Liberal red for more than 35 years, to blue but he says he's up for the challenge. 

McLane was nominated as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Cornwall-Meadowbank at a party meeting on Monday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

McLane said he takes it as a compliment that he was unopposed for the nomination. 

"I had some support from the party for sure to push my nomination forward so I think that helped. I know the chief of staff pretty well, personally," he said.

"I guess they might have championed my cause."   

Attention now turns to the Liberal nomination Wednesday night. 

"We were hoping to have a contested nomination," P.E.I. Liberal Party president Don Leary said. 

"We're pleasantly surprised to see five names jump up. It may be on the tails of the federal election, perhaps, and maybe people are just more interested than they've been in the last little while."

"This district has been Liberal for nearly 40 years and we're hoping to hang onto it. I think we can hang onto it," Leary added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked in TV, digital and print for more than two decades. In addition to his role as a multi-platform journalist for CBC News, Wayne can be heard reading the news coast-to-coast-to-coast on The World This Hour, co-hosting Island Morning and reporting daily for CBC News: Compass, the top rated supper hour show on the Island. You can reach Wayne at Wayne.Thibodeau@cbc.ca

With files by Arturo Change and Angela Walker

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