Green Party's history-making success in P.E.I. can go national, leader says
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:06AM EDT
After making history by leading his party to official Opposition status in P.E.I.’s provincial election Tuesday night, Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker believes his party’s success can be matched on the federal level in October.
The day after the election that saw the Greens win eight seats to form the Official Opposition to the Progressive Conservatives’ minority government – Bevan-Baker said he thinks it’s possible for the Greens’ success in P.E.I. to translate across the country ahead of the upcoming federal election.
“There’s a real disillusionment with conventional politics and unimaginative politicians,” he told CTV’s Your Morning in a phone interview from Charlottetown early Tuesday. “I think the Green Party, at least on Prince Edward Island, had a real opportunity to be a different voice and Islanders went for that. They really embraced that. I think the same is possible on the national scene.”
The 56-year-old leader acknowledged that the dynamics are “entirely different” in a federal election compared to a provincial race in Canada’s smallest province, but he said federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s leadership and the quality of the candidates should give them a good chance.
“I think there’s no reason… that the Green Party couldn’t emulate what we have done today on the national scale in October,” he said.
Bevan-Baker also said attitudes about the Greens’ ability to govern are changing.
“I think one of the big reasons that we did so well last night is that we’ve demonstrated to Islanders that we are competent legislators. We know the issues, we can knowledgeably talk to them,” he said. “We’ve gone way past that misconception that we’re a single-issue party.”
P.E.I.’s Green Party enjoyed a surge of popularity in the polls ahead of the election before winning enough votes to form the official Opposition. It will be the first time any Green Party has obtained official Opposition status in Canadian history.
The Tories, led by premier-designate Dennis King, won a minority government with 12 seats. Former Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s incumbent Liberals dropped to third-party status after holding on to six seats.
Unlike Alberta’s recent divisive election where the United Conservative Party and the NDP butted heads on most issues, Bevan-Baker said the Greens and the Tories on P.E.I. shared similar views on several platform policies. He said he’s looking forward to working with them in the future.
“There were a lot of parallels, a lot of overlap between our platform and their platform, so I think it’s not going to be difficult to find common ground on which to support each other,” he said. “I think there’s absolutely an opportunity to work [together] when it comes to actual issues.”