Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Four members of the Opposition

For the first time in eighteen years, PEI will have no MPs on the government side at the federal level. The Island is the only province without at least one Conservative MP elected to parliament. Prior to the Chretien era, PEI had a history of electing opposition MPs; the majority of our MPs were conservatives during Trudeaumania and provincial opposition to NAFTA caused Islanders to vote Liberal in 1988.

The Liberal party's attempts during this election to create wedge issues out of abortion, same-sex marriage and the notwithstanding clause, as well as their campaign of fear, did not help the Island's four Liberal MPs win their ridings. Prince Edward Island is the only jurisdiction in North America where abortions are not performed. Lawrence McAuley, easily won re-election in Cardigan after voting against same-sex marriage during the last session of parliament and receiving an endorsement from Elsie Wayne on behalf of Vote Marriage Canada. After winning the riding of Malpeque, Wayne Easter wasted no time criticizing the way the Liberals' national campaign was run.
With an average riding population that is less than 40,000 (many urban ridings have 100,000+), politics on the island are mainly fought door-to-door. Voters here chose Easter and MacAuley, rather than campaign policy or rhetoric coming out of the national Liberal war-room.

The next election, which will likely occur in two years time or less, will likely be a more level playing field for the Conservatives. During this election, the Liberal MPs were able to start unofficially campaigning in the weeks before the writ was dropped, with huge spending announcements. Between now and whenever we have to go back to the polls, there will be no federal funding announcement photo ops for Prince Edward Island's MPs. However, MacAuley and McGuire have been in parliament since the Mulroney government, and it is hard to imagine the Conservatives winning an Island seat until one of the incumbents retires.


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Brent Edward Slater said...

Great article Angela; let's hope that people on PEI wake up for the next election!

At 7:05 PM, Blogger RkBall said...

The PM's attempts to score political points from the death and dismemberment of Canada's unborn was shameful.

At best, abortion should be something that makes us very sad.

To use it for political gain at rah-rah rallies was simply beyond belief. And to hear these words coming from a man who claims to be a devout Catholic... what a tragic waste.


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