P.E.I. Greens hope to ride wave into next election
With the first two-member third-party caucus, Greens push for more resources, recruit candidates
The Green Party of P.E.I. is looking forward to a greater role in the legislature and ramping up for the next general election after Monday night's surprise byelection win in Charlottetown-Parkdale.
With Hannah Bell's win, Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker believes it's a turning point for the party.
"This was unexpected, not only from within our camp, but everywhere else," Bevan-Baker said. "I really think we have shaken Island politics to its core."
This is the first time a third party has had a two-member caucus in P.E.I. and Bell is just the sixth sitting Green party MLA in Canada.
"I think it's very significant," Bevan-Baker said. "Not only did we win an extra seat in the house, but I think we have stated very loudly and clearly that the Green Party is here to stay."
Looking ahead to 2019
The Green Party believes more candidates can be elected — recruiting is already underway for the next provincial election, expected in 2019.
"If we were to reach 35 per cent in the polls in a true three-way race, we could easily be the government next time, it's not out of the question," Bevan-Baker said. "Things can change quickly in politics, you know there are tipping points and maybe this is the beginning of something much more profound in PEI."
This was unexpected, not only from within our camp, but everywhere else. I really think we have shaken Island politics to its core.— Peter Bevan-Baker
Bevan-Baker says Bell will bring valuable skills to the legislature. She has worked with several organizations, getting finances in order, and creating strategic plans for groups such as the arts guild, the town of Stratford and the PEI Business Women's Association.
More office space, budget
The Greens plan to ask the legislature for a larger office space, an increased budget and more time to ask questions in the house. Those requests will be dealt with by a legislative committee.
The Greens will make a difference in the legislature, Bell said.
"We've actually got a stronger caucus at the moment than there has been in the past in some legislatures," Bell said. "What we are is a completely different voice than the other two voices, so we are able to be in there without an agenda driven by a large political machine."
An official swearing-in date has been set for Dec. 13, but the Greens are hoping to have that date moved up so Bell can sit in the legislature as soon as possible.
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With files from Laura Meader