PEI

P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Leader Rob Lantz resigns

Rob Lantz, leader of P.E.I.'s Progressive Conservative Party, announced Wednesday morning he is stepping down effective immediately.
Rob Lantz stepped down as P.E.I. Progressive Conservative leader today. 8:05

Rob Lantz, leader of P.E.I.'s Progressive Conservative Party, announced Wednesday morning he is stepping down effective immediately.

"I stayed on as leader because of the people who worked so hard to help me earn the leadership," said Lantz.

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"It didn't feel right to quit."

Lantz won the party leadership at a convention in February. The convention had been hastily moved forward from May in expectation of a spring election.

The election did come in May, resulting in another Liberal majority. The Tories improved their standing, winning eight seats, but Lantz did not win his district in Charlottetown. A recount showed he lost by 22 votes.

A week after the election, Lantz said he would stay on and lead the party from outside the rail. Lantz said he met with the caucus and executive and the party was strong and united behind him.

"I had a dream and a plan for this party but leading from outside the rail has become a barrier," said Lantz Wednesday.

"I am leaving on my own terms. No one is pushing me out."

Lantz's salary a question

Rob Lantz announces his resignation as leader of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party effective immediately. (CBC)
Without a seat in the legislature, Lantz was not receiving any pay from taxpayers.

In June, the party announced it would pay Lantz a salary of $75,000 a year, but party president Peter McQuaid said following Lantz's announcement Wednesday that the party is in debt following the election campaign.

"We can't afford to pay him at this time," said McQuaid.

But McQuaid reiterated that the decision to go was Lantz's.

"This is totally his decision. I found out about this last night at seven o'clock," he said.

'Embracing the change'

According to Lantz the party had been paying his salary, and he told CBC News that last week the executive voted to continue paying that salary.

PC Party president Peter McQuaid says the party cannot afford to pay a leader who is not in the legislature. (CBC)
McQuaid said within the next 30 days caucus and party executive would meet and choose a new interim leader from amongst the caucus members. Planning would then begin on a new leadership convention.

With Lantz outside of the house, Steven Myers, who had been interim leader in advance of the leadership convention, has been the official leader of the Opposition.

The other two Tories who ran for the leadership in February, James Aylward and Darlene Compton, are currently in the legislature.

In one of his final comments Lantz, who is a former Charlottetown city councillor, suggested he is done with politics.

"I am open to the idea of stepping away from politics and I am embracing the change."

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