Canadian Manufacturing

Liberals win majority victory in P.E.I. election

The party overcame questions of accountability to win a third straight majority government in the province



CHARLOTTETOWN—The Liberals have won a third straight majority government in Prince Edward Island, led by a former academic who became the province’s premier less than three months ago.

The opposition parties used the month-long campaign to question whether voters can trust the Liberals after the government was accused of failing to be accountable about problems with an immigrant investor program and a bid to become the country’s Internet gambling regulator.

But the Liberals presented a fresh face at the party’s helm as Wade MacLauchlan became party leader and premier in late February after Robert Ghiz stepped down.

The 60-year-old former president of the University of Prince Edward Island was up against main challenger Rob Lantz, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, who was in a tight race in his riding of Charlottetown-Brighton.

The 45-year-old former Charlottetown city councillor also became leader of his party in February.

The election results also saw a surprise strong showing by the Greens and NDP as they held about 20 per cent of the popular vote.

During the election, the Tories promised a royal commission to look into the administration of the immigration program and the Internet gaming initiative that was abandoned by Ghiz’s government more than two years ago.

A three-year RCMP investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery in the immigrant investor program was closed with no charges laid.

MacLauchlan has promised changes that are intended to bolster trust in the Liberal government, including better public disclosure of travel, hospitality and meal expenses.

He has also asked the province’s auditor general to examine the conduct of current and former elected officials, as well as staff, in the gaming plan.

At the time the legislature was dissolved on April 6 when MacLauchlan called the election, the Liberals held 20 seats, the Tories had three seats, there was one Independent and three seats were vacant.

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