Tomorrow PEI votes and while normally few of us outside the province would really care, a political earthquake might be on the horizon. PEI has always voted either Liberal or Progressive Conservative, but polls show the Greens in the lead meaning PEI might have Canada’s first ever Green government and this could have profound implications on the Greens long term. No doubt people will look at how they govern and that could either make or break the Greens nationwide. They are also having a referendum on whether to switch to MMP or stay with FTFP.
In terms of what I think will happen, I believe a Green win is the most likely outcome; question is whether it is a majority or minority. The PCs are also seeing their numbers improve and with recent elections showing conservatives outperforming polls, I think a PC win while not the most likely outcome is at least plausible. The Liberals who have governed for three terms are still competitive, but they are probably the least likely of the three parties to win, but with only a handful of polls, I wouldn’t totally count them out.
As for my hopes, I hope MMP referendum gets defeated much like it did in BC and hopefully it is decisive like it was in BC. While I haven’t followed the campaign closely, my inclination would be to support the Progressive Conservatives. Unlike further West, the PCs in Atlantic Canada are still very much like the PCs were federally prior to the merger in 2003 so having them in government ensures Red Toryism remains a relevant force. Liberals have been in power for 12 years so probably time for a change. For Greens, their leader is very popular, but going from one seat to government is always risky so going to opposition might be better for them long term. Allow the team to develop their skills and also give Islanders a chance to see what the Green team is like as a government is more than just the leader, it is also the team involved and unless really skilled generally a strong competent leader with a weak team can be problematic.
I am quite happy with the results. PCs will likely form the next government and as a more centrist version that stresses pragmatism and cooperation, I think we need more of this type of conservatism. Unfortunately with PEI being a small province and getting little attention, doubt it will have much impact on the federal party unlike say Doug Ford and Kenney’s wins do. The Greens forming official opposition is a good position for them, a chance to learn the ropes build up a team of more than just the leader so when people are ready for change they will be ready. I am glad to see MMP defeated, but disappointed it was so close. That being said with PEI’s small size and differences between parties being smaller, it probably would encounter fewer problems than it would in other provinces.
A word for pundits elsewhere commenting, PEI politics is not the same as Ontario, Alberta, or BC. In most provinces, such result would mean the Liberals propping up the Greens, but in PEI, unlike most provinces Greens and Liberals are not as left wing while PCs are not nearly as right wing. All three parties are very close to the political centre so progressives uniting to keep out conservatives doesn’t make a lot of sense here. Also those commenting about a conservative wave sweeping the country, there is some truth to this based on other provincial results, but the PEI PCs are like the federal PCs were back in the 70s, not the modern day Conservatives so one should note assume their votes will automatically transfer over. Some will, but some won’t.