The Green Party and the NDP combined for more than 20% of the vote in yesterday's provincial election in Prince Edward Island. In a province where only Liberals and Progressive Conservatives have run government and only one member of legislative assembly (MLA) came from a 3rd party, the electorate wanted something other than chocolate and vanilla.
The Liberals stayed in power though they lost 4 seats of their margin: unofficially 18 Liberals, 8 Progressive Conservatives, and 1 Green Party MLA.
Country dentist Peter Bevan-Baker became the first MLA of a 3rd party since 1996 and only the second ever in the history of the province. Bevan-Baker joins David Coon of New Brunswick as Green Party MLAs in the Maritimes.
Bevan-Baker was running in his 10th election and had never been elected to any post … until Monday.
Wade MacLauchlan retains his post as premier with a late comeback to win his own district. MacLauchlan was the only one who ran for the Liberal Party leadership after long-time premier Robert Ghiz resigned.
Rob Lantz, the Progressive Conservative leader, didn't win his own district. Both MacLauchlan and Lantz became their party leaders in February.
Mike Redmond was running his first race as NDP leader. Redmond finished 3rd of 4 candidates in his district but fellow NDP candidate Gord McNeilly came so close to winning a district. McNeilly was leading with all but one poll remaining, but the last poll put incumbent Liberal Kathleen Casey over the top.
Herb Dickieson of the NDP was the only MLA not from the 2 major parties to be elected in 1996. Dickieson is a physician and Bevan-Baker a dentist, so both MLAs from 3rd party are doctors when not being politicians.
* MacLauchlan is the first openly gay premier elected in Prince Edward Island and the second openly gay premier in Canada alongside Kathleen Wynne in Ontario.
* The NDP and Green Party wanted to challenge the province's stance on not allowing abortions. The PCs and Liberal Party campaigned on keeping the status quo on abortions.
* Prince Edward Island is the smallest of the provinces in terms of population (74,571 voted in the 2011 election) but its voter turnout is astoundingly high. The province had an 84.6% voter turnout in this election. PEI has only had 2 voter turnouts in almost 50 years at less than 80%, with 2011 coming in at 76.4%.
Would love to see the 2015 Canadian federal election come close to those marks.
If you watched the CBC Charlottetown coverage or listened to it via CBCT on CBC Radio One out of Charlottetown, you might have recognized Bruce Rainnie. Rainnie is known in sports circles for his coverage of numerous sports. Rainnie has even filled in on Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.
Despite his sports prowess, Rainnie is the news anchor of CBC News: Compass, the only TV newscast geared specifically toward Prince Edward Island.
As someone who has done news and sports on radio, I can appreciate someone who can do both jobs rather well, and Rainnie certainly belongs in that category.