Opposition moves for acceptance of P.E.I. plebiscite results
'We can't just ignore the desire for change'
P.E.I.'s two opposition parties introduced a joint motion Tuesday night calling on the government to hold the next provincial election using a mixed member proportional representation system.
That was the system favoured in a plebiscite on electoral reform.
- Electoral reform plebiscite should be honoured, says poll
- P.E.I. plebiscite favours mixed member proportional representation
"We're not here to reiterate the various pros and cons of the systems that were on the ballot. That debate has been had," said Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.
"The question now before us is, what does this house do with the will of Islanders as expressed in the plebiscite?"
A long debate
The debate ran on for two hours, and the evening session ended before a vote could be called.
Progressive Conservative MLA Sidney MacEwen was the seconder of the motion.
"We can't just ignore the desire for change that has come about. I'll be up front, I'm not a fan of the results. But to be fair I wasn't a fan of the results of the last election either," said MacEwen.
"But here I am, working to the best of my ability with those results. We listened to the voters and we accepted the results then."
MacEwen encouraged Premier Wade MacLauchlan to accept the results.
MacLauchlan has suggested turnout for the plebiscite, at 36.5 per cent, was not high enough to necessarily reflect the will of Islanders.
Bevan-Baker invoked the words of Transportation and Energy Minister Paula Biggar to refute that notion.
We cannot give these wasted votes any credence.- Peter Bevan-Baker
"The only wasted vote is a vote not cast. I could not agree more," he said.
"We cannot give these wasted votes any credence as we debate the result."
Biggar also spoke to the motion and said she would vote against it. She expressed concern about the voter turnout of just 27.9 per cent in her district.
Opposition leader Jamie Fox also said he would vote against the motion, because voters in his district chose to keep first past the post.
Opposition members will be able to call the motion back to the floor for further debate when they have time.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Q&A: Jamie Fox on P.E.I. Opposition's plan to tackle fall legislative sitting
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | P.E.I. Opposition seeks censure for civil servants who broke rules on e-gaming
With files from Kerry Campbell