PEI

P.E.I. Liberals consider role in newly elected government

After losing power on election night, the six successful Liberal candidates who were elected will have to get used to a role in the legislature Liberal MLAs haven't played before — as members of the third party. 

'As a third party, we can play a pretty valuable role as well in P.E.I.’s legislative agenda'

The Liberal Party of P.E.I. says it plans to engage with party members over the coming weeks and months. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

After losing power on election night, the six successful Liberal candidates who were elected will have to get used to a role in the legislature Liberal MLAs haven't played before — as members of the third party. 

Five of the six Liberals have been in government — and cabinet — before.

Robert Henderson was re-elected in District 25, O'Leary-Inverness. Watching the results come in, the outgoing minister of agriculture and fisheries says he felt a mix of relief at winning his own seat, along with disappointment for his party. 

"Obviously when you've worked with a lot of colleagues over the years, and you see some of them go down to defeat and that's always disappointing and you know, you feel for them in that regard," Henderson said.

"But, the game of politics is a fickle game sometimes, and it's sometimes hard to predict an outcome."

'We’ll just do what we can to make sure that Islanders are getting good governance, and that we can play whatever role we can in that,' says re-elected Liberal MLA Robert Henderson. (CBC)

Henderson said he'd spoken with the other elected Liberals, as well as some of his former caucus who were not re-elected, but he says the new Liberal caucus has not yet met all together to discuss next steps.

Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan didn't win his seat, which has left questions.

"Until he decides what his plans are in that capacity, you know then we'll have to wait and adapt to and figure out where we move from there. But from my perspective it's kind of a wait and see. And I'm prepared to play whatever role I can."

Focus on constituents

Hal Perry was re-elected as a Liberal MLA for Tignish-Palmer Road. He said he was surprised by the election results.

"Our party had done so well in the last four years, especially to build the economy on Prince Edward Island," Perry said. "And more people were working."

Perry said he has always worked hard for his constituents.

I've always had my district's best interest at heart, regardless of whether I'm in opposition or as a government member.— MLA Hal Perry

"I've always had my district's best interest at heart, regardless of whether I'm in opposition or as a government member."

He added that the new dynamics in the legislature, with no majority government, would be interesting.

"There are many many different plays that are going through my head at this time. But I'm ready to work for my district," Perry said. "I'm ready to work with the government too, to make sure that it is functional."

'I’ve always had my district’s best interest at heart, regardless of whether I’m in opposition or as a government member,' says re-elected Liberal MLA Hal Perry. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Both re-elected MLAs say they would be willing to work to ensure the elected government progresses.

"Whether that's asking the right questions that Islanders are wanting answers to, or whether it's playing the role in supporting government in some of the decisions that they may be making, or supporting the opposition," Henderson said. 

"So, as a third party, we can play a pretty valuable role as well in Prince Edward Island's legislative agenda."

Liberal Party to regroup after election

"The Liberal Party, while obviously disappointed with Tuesday's results, would like to congratulate Dennis King and the PC Party," said Isaac MacDonald, a Liberal Party spokesperson.

"We look forward to engaging our grassroots and party members over the coming weeks and months and are determined to continue to advocate for the best interest of Islanders all across this province."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Sarah MacMillan

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