Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chaos for the PEI PC Party

For those who have not been following news coming from the PEI Official Opposition  it may surprise you to learn there is trouble.

While the "problem" seems to have been solved now, the fact remains the party is divided. I believe I've been able to patch together what has happened though reading various news articles since December.

In the Fall of 2012, The PC Party held a vote, on if they want to hold a vote, to review the leadership of Olive Crane. Crane apparently won that vote by 5 votes. While I don't have the exact number of attendees, having personally been to PEI Political Conventions, this likely means a victory of 51% or 52%, below the 55% that some former leaders of the PC Party in Manitoba and Alberta received in the past decade. Crane said she would stay on, pending polling results.

That poll came out in December showing the PC Party had fallen to 28%, just ahead of the NDP at its highest-ever 22%. Crane specifically had an approval rating of 19% Crane resigned.

Resigned, that is, as leader of the PC Party. She decided to remain as leader of the official opposition. With the party so divided it became clear that Crane could not remain in even that post, and she resigned. The 5 member Caucus met and chose Hal Perry as the new Leader of the Official Opposition. The "problem" is that the PC Party had held a meeting of Caucus plus the Executive, and they had chosen Steven Meyers as Interim Leader.

A dispute arose. Meyers, you see is a member of Caucus. Can one MLA be party leader and another, Leader of the Opposition? Depending on how you read the rules, maybe not. The (Liberal) Speaker was asked to rule, and she said that she would recognize Perry.

By now the PEI PC Party had become the laughing stock of watercooler conversations; having a Liberal pick their leader for them. Perry was eventually pressured to resign, as noted in the first link. It seems, however, the "problem" may not be over. 3 members of the 5 member Caucus did not attend the general meeting which decided that Meyers will take over both roles. Meyers will enter the legislature without the support of his own caucus, and due to the mess created, having a majority of caucus that is actively hostile towards him.

These 3 caucus members have said little since the "solution" was reached on Monday. Thursday this all becomes official. I personally would not be surprised if all 3 rebel members decided to start their own caucus, and get their guy as Leader of the Opposition regardless.

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