Steep learning curve for Liberals: Casey

Newly-elected Liberal MP Sean Casey says he knows he has a tough job now that the Liberals have been relegated to third party status.
Newly-elected Charlottetown MP Sean Casey says he has a steep learning curve ahead. ((CBC))
Newly-elected Liberal MP Sean Casey says he knows he has a tough job now that the Liberals have been relegated to third party status.

"No matter what, being successful in the seat, I was going to be on a steep learning curve. Now it's probably steeper," Casey said Tuesday.

"There's nobody in the Liberal party that has any experience being in a third party situation."

Casey, the MP for Charlottetown, is one of three Liberal MPs who were elected on the Island.

While each of the MPs celebrated their own victories on Monday night, their moods changed as Michael Ignatieff resigned as party leader on Tuesday after the party's devastating showing of just 34 seats in the House of Commons, down from 77.

The Conservatives became a majority government and the NDP formed the Official Opposition.

"I'm concerned about what lies ahead for the Liberal party given the dramatic reduction in the number of seats," said Casey.

Michael Ignatieff did not get a fair chance to introduce himself to Canadians, says Wayne Easter. (CBC)
Malpeque MP Wayne Easter expressed his sadness that Canadians never got to know the Ignatieff that he knows.

Easter said Ignatieff was a victim of a relentless negative advertising campaign by the Conservatives.

"[I'm] a little bit saddened because I do think Michael Ignatieff was a remarkable individual who probably would have made one of the best prime ministers this country would have ever seen," said Easter.

"But he didn't get a fair shake, as he said in his own press conference. The negative ads, $20 million and 6,000 ads over two years on his person and his character, did their job. And so Canadians never really got to know the Michael Ignatieff that I know and now we're left with the most right-wing government that this country has ever seen."

Monday's results left some in the Liberal ridings wondering how loud their voice will be heard in Ottawa.

"I think they're obviously going to have difficulties representing their constituents," said Sheri-Lee Hickox. "They're going to have to push hard to get their voice through."

Easter said the Liberals will have to be "very aggressive."

"We have to use the public pressure to ensure Prince Edward Islanders get what they desire," he said.

An interim leader for the federal Liberal party will be chosen during a caucus meeting next Wednesday, with a leadership convention likely coming in the fall.

Easter said he will not be putting his name forward. He said it's not something he'll consider. He said the interim leader and the permanent leader will have to be bilingual.