It was expected to be a tight race, as three parties showed strong support throughout the campaign. And the result mirrored that support. For the first time in the province’s history, voters have elected a minority government in Prince Edward Island.
After three consecutive terms of Liberal Party majority rule, the Liberals became the number three party in the province, as the Progressive Conservatives (PC) and the Green Party vaulted over them. Dennis King, now the Premier-designate, has the chance to form government after capturing 12 of the province’s 27 seats. King has only been the party leader for just over two months.
The Green Party finished the night with eight seats, while the Liberals finished with six. The 27th riding, Charlottetown – Hillsborough Park, was not part of the general election following the tragic death of Green Party candidate Josh Underhay. In accordance with Section 45 of the Election Act, a by-election will be set for no later than July 19.
The 2015 campaign was a clear win for the Liberals, capturing 18 seats as compared to eight for the PCs and one for the Green Party. However, the 18 was down from the 22 won in 2011 and 23 in 2007.
Not only was it not a good night for the Liberals, it was not a good night for the party’s cabinet either. Premier Wade MacLauchlan went down to defeat in the riding of Stanhope-Marshfield, losing by 104 votes to Bloyce Thompson of the PCs. Several cabinet ministers also fell, notably the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Paula Biggar, who finished third in Tyne Valley-Linkletter. Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture Jordan Brown, as well as Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Richard Brown and Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Chris Palmer were also defeated.
With forming government in the hands of the Progressive Conservative party, here is a look at some of the key infrastructure-related promises that have been made by the party during the campaign:
- On health care, the PCs announced that they will replace Hillsborough Hospital in Charlottetown;
- Develop a public transit plan for the province;
- Bring together internet providers, large and small, to design and implement a ‘made in PEI’ plan to deliver high-speed access to all communities across the Island (adhering to CRTC’s service objective of 50 mbps download/10 mbps upload for fixed broadband services by 2021);
- Expand vocational programming at the high school level;
- King would established an Environmental Bill of Rights;
- King said that the PCs will not join the provinces contesting the federal carbon tax; and
- Develop a solar energy rebate and electric vehicle incentive program.
In the days ahead, the PCs will work to form government with the support of the Green Party or the Liberal Party. Should they fail to reach an agreement, the Green Party will have the opportunity to work with the Liberal Party to form government.