Prince Edward Island.

Author:Reddin, Ryan
Position:Legislative Reports

* Due to an editing error, Prince Edward Island's Legislative Report for Autumn 2019 was omitted from the previous issue. It is reproduced here along with the Winter 2019 legislative report. The CPR regrets the error.

General Election Results

On April 23, 2019, Prince Edward Island held a general election in which voters elected candidates in 26 of the province's 27 districts. Candidates ran under the banners of the Green Party, Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Progressive Conservative Party, and independent candidates ran in three districts. After votes were tallied, Progressive Conservative Party candidates won 12 districts; Green Party candidates won eight districts; and Liberal Party candidates won six districts. No recounts were necessary and the successful candidates were officially declared elected.

The popular vote was distributed as follows: Progress Conservative Party 36.5 per cent; Green Party 30.6 per cent; Liberal Party 29.5 per cent; NDP three per cent; and independent 0.4 per cent. Voter turnout came in at 76.27 per cent, which is a low for Prince Edward Island, where it has frequently surpassed 80 per cent in elections dating back to 1966.

Of the 26 successful candidates, 11 have not been previously elected.

Deferred Election--District 9

On Friday, April 19, just days before the general election, Green Party candidate Josh Underhay and his son tragically died in a boating accident. As a result, while the election proceeded in the other 26 districts, Elections PEI deferred voting in District 9, Charlottetown--Hillsborough Park. The date of July 15 was later chosen for the deferred election. The candidates are John Andrew (Green Party), Karen Lavers (Liberal Party), Gordon Gay (New Democratic Party), and Natalie Jameson (Progressive Conservative Party); none have previously sat in the Legislative Assembly.

Electoral System Referendum Results

A referendum on PEI's electoral system was held in tandem with the April 23 general election. Voters chose "no" or "yes" in response to the question "Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?" Under the Electoral System Referendum Act, the result would be considered binding if the "no" or "yes" side received a majority of the overall vote and a majority in at least 60% of the 27 districts. Referendum voting proceeded as scheduled in District 9 despite the deferred vote to elect a representative in that district.

In the end, 51.74 per cent of voters chose the "no" option, and 48.26% chose "yes". "No" achieved a majority in 13 districts, and "yes" in 14. As a result, PEI is expected to continue to use the First Past the Post system, though advocates of proportional representation indicate they will continue to push for electoral reform.

New Government, Opposition and Third Party

On May 9, Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, presided over the swearing in of new Premier Dennis King and eight Ministers of the Crown. All members of Cabinet are from the Progressive Conservative caucus. With the delivery of a...

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