PEI

Speaker chided for attending political events

The Speaker of the P.E.I. legislature is being questioned by the Opposition after CBC News discovered she is attending nomination meetings for the upcoming provincial election.

The Speaker of the P.E.I. legislature is being questioned by the Opposition after CBC News discovered she is attending nomination meetings for the upcoming provincial election.

In some other provinces that's not allowed. Attending a partisan event is seen as breach of the Speaker's need to be impartial. Speaker Kathleen Casey told CBC News she's done nothing wrong, but Opposition House Leader Jim Bagnall doesn't see it that way.

Speaker Kathleen Casey says attending a political meeting does not affect her impartiality in the house. (Province of P.E.I.)

"I'm shocked that that Speaker would perhaps put herself in that position," said Bagnall.

"As Speaker of the House you have to refrain from taking part in political events."

Bagnall would like Casey to research the rules in other jurisdictions and address the house with her findings.

She would find examples that preclude participation in political meetings.

In Ontario, the speaker is to "refrain from participating in partisan activities." In 2005, the Speaker of the Newfoundland legislature had to apologize to the house for attending a federal campaign event for MP Loyola Hearn.

Despite those examples, Casey doesn't think she's done anything wrong.

"One of the questions that I ask myself before I attend any of those nomination meetings is, 'Would my attendance at any of these meetings affect my ability to be impartial inside the house,' and there's no way that attending a meeting affects what I do in the house," she said.

There's nothing in writing on P.E.I. that says the Speaker should not attend political party functions.