Voters in Prince Edward Island elect minority government amid tight race

The final outcome remaines unclear amid a tight electoral race

NDP Leader Joe Byrne, left to right, Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King, Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan pose for a photo at the provincial leaders debate at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, P.E.I. on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Voters in P.E.I. have shed their century-old embrace of the Island’s two-party system by electing a minority government, but the final outcome remained unclear amid a tight electoral race that saw the Tories holding a slim lead over the Greens.

Less than two hours after the polls closed Tuesday, the Tories were leading and elected in 12 ridings, the Greens had pulled into second place with nine and the incumbent Liberals were in third with five.

READ MORE: PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

The Greens had led in opinion polls since August, which led to speculation they could be poised to upend the two-party tradition and form Canada’s first Green government.

Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King, a former political staffer and consultant, was elected to lead the party only two months ago. He won the riding of Brackley-Hunter River.

The Tories enjoyed a boost in the polls last month, leaving them in a virtual dead heat with the Greens and Liberals as the campaign ended.

Led by Scottish-born dentist Peter Bevan-Baker, the Greens’ rise in popularity generated a national buzz during an otherwise lacklustre campaign.

During the race, Bevan-Baker tried to persuade Islanders that the Greens care about more than just the environment, offering a platform that focused on a range of social issues.

The Green leader, who was elected to the legislature as the first Green member in 2015, won his riding of New Haven-Rocky Point.

The Liberals, under Premier Wade MacLauchlan, were seeking a fourth term in office, having repeatedly reminded Islanders that the province’s economy remains the strongest in the country.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say P.E.I. is on a tear, posting impressive numbers for higher wages, employment, immigration, housing starts, exports, retail sales and tourism.

However, voters appeared reluctant to give MacLauchlan credit for boosting the economy, a sentiment that was reflected in his relatively low personal popularity ratings.

The Island’s New Democrats, led by 57-year-old Joe Byrne, were not in contention in any ridings.

When the legislature was dissolved, the Liberals held 16 seats in the 27-seat legislature, the Tories had eight and the Green party had two seats. There was one Independent.

A total of 14 seats are needed for a majority, but only 26 of the 27 seats will be contested.

On Saturday, Elections P.E.I. postponed the vote in the district of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park following the deaths of Green party candidate, Josh Underhay, and his young son in a boating mishap on the Hillsborough River.

A byelection will be held in the riding within the next three months.

Aside from the election outcome, voters will also learn the results of a binding referendum on electoral reform, which will determine if Islanders want to keep the first-past-the-post system or change to a mixed member proportional representation model.

Kevin Bissett and Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Agricultural Land Commission rejects application for former Pelton property

Golden Eagle Farm Group proposed business park for west Maple Ridge site

Pitt Meadows teacher wins Prime Minister’s Award

Kelvin Dueck honoured for work teaching STEM in classroom

MRSS places third in senior team rankings at Fraser Valley track championships

School qualifies 16 for provincials, starting Thursday in Kelowna.

Pitt Meadows blueberry farm ordered to pay $131,000 to foreign workers

Golden Eagle Blueberry Farms also penalized $500

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

TransLink fares to go up on July 1

Fares will increase by a few cents to a few dollars

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, B.C. lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Two week lock down lifted after drugs, cellphone seized at Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

B.C. firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Most Read