- Prince Edward Island Liberal Party
Prince Edward Island Liberal Party
Active provincial party
Leader Robert Ghiz President Barrie Harris Founded 1873 Headquarters 39 Kent Street
Ideology Liberalism Official colours Red Seats in Legislature Website liberal.pe.ca Politics of Prince Edward Island
The Prince Edward Island Liberal Party is a major political party in the province of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The PEI Liberals are aligned with the federal Liberal Party of Canada. The party is led by Robert Ghiz, a former member of the staff of the Prime Minister's Office under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and son of Joseph A. Ghiz, a former premier of the province.
It was created when PEI was a British colony by Reformers who agitated for the system of responsible government. This was granted by the British crown to the colony in 1851.
George Coles was its dominant figure in its first decades. While initially supportive of Canadian confederation, Coles and the Liberals soured on the project, and it wasn't until 1873 that the island joined Canada as a means of relieving the PEI government's severe debts.
The early party supported the abolition of school fees, and a resolution to the land question that divided the province. The Liberals supported land reform through were state acquisition of large landed estates. These estates were broken up and turned over to tenants and squatters.
The Liberals have been one of only two parties forming government on the island since 1851, the other being the Conservatives. The Liberals have formed government more often, but not in recent times. In practice, there is little to distinguish the two parties from each other: both lean towards the centre of the political spectrum. The Liberals being slightly to the left and the Conservatives (Tories) slightly to the right.
Traditionally, the Tories have done better among Protestant, voters while Liberals have had more support from Catholics. Politics on the island, however, has never been sectarian, and both parties have always had voters and members from both populations. Indeed, it has been the custom until recently for a Liberal incumbent of one denomination to be opposed by a Tory challenger of the same denomination and vice versa. This had tended to minimise religious sectarianism within the parties. The Liberals have also traditionally enjoyed the support of the province's small Acadian population concentrated in Prince County at the west end of the island. Conservative support has tended to be greater on the eastern half of the island.
In the past forty years the most significant figures in the party have been Alexander B. Campbell and, later, Joe Ghiz. Liberal governments in the 1960s and 1970s under Campbell supported diversification of the province's agricultural economy. Government incentives were provided to attract manufacturing and tourism. Under Ghiz in the 1980s, the Liberals opposed free trade between Canada and the United States, and the federal Tory government's decision to close a military base on the island. The party's enthusiasm for economic intervention in the economy had waned since the Campbell years.
In addition to winning two general elections under Joseph A. Ghiz, Canada's first provincial premier of non-European ancestry, the PEI Liberal Party won a subsequent election in 1993 under Catherine Callbeck, the first woman to be elected as a provincial premier in Canada.
- Paula Biggar, Tyne Valley-Linkletter
- Carolyn Bertram, Rustico-Emerald
- Richard Brown, Charlottetown-Victoria Park
- Kathleen Casey, Charlottetown-Lewis Point
- Doug Currie, Charlottetown-Parkdale
- Valerie Docherty, Kellys Cross-Cumberland
- Cynthia Dunsford, Stratford-Kinlock
- Bush Dumville, West Royalty-Springvale
- Sonny Gallant, Evangeline-Miscouche
- Robert Ghiz, Charlottetown-Brighton
- Gerard Greenan, Summerside-St. Eleanors
- Robert Henderson, O'Leary-Inverness
- Neil LeClair, Tignish-Palmer Road
- Ron MacKinley, Cornwall-Meadowbank
- Charlie McGeoghegan, Belfast-Murray River
- Robert Mitchell, Charlottetown-Sherwood
- Pat Murphy, Alberton-Roseville
- Alan McIsaac, Vernon River-Stratford
- Allan Campbell, Stratford-Kinlock
- Wes Sheridan, Kensington-Malpeque
- Janice Sherry, Summerside-Wilmot
- Robert Vessey, York-Oyster Bed
- Buck Watts, Tracadie-Hillsborough Park
- George Webster, Borden-Kinkora
- Louis Henry Davies 1876-1879
- Frederick Peters - 1891-1897
- Alexander Warburton - 1897-1898
- Donald Farquharson - 1898-1901
- Arthur Peters - 1901-1908
- Francis Haszard - 1908-1911
- Herbert James Palmer - 1911
- John Howatt Bell - 1915-1923
- Albert Charles Saunders - 1923-1930
- Walter Lea - 1930-1936
- Thane Campbell - 1936-1943
- John Walter Jones - 1943-1953
- Alex W. Matheson - 1953-1965
- Alexander B. Campbell - 1965-1978
- William Bennett Campbell - 1978 (Interim leader)
- William Bennett Campbell - 1978-1981
- Gilbert Clements - 1981 (Interim leader)
- Joseph A. Ghiz - 1981-1993
- Catherine Callbeck - 1993-1996
- Keith Milligan - 1996-1999
- Wayne Carew - 1999-2000
- Ron MacKinley - 2000-2003 (Interim leader)
- Robert Ghiz - 2003-present
- List of Prince Edward Island premiers
- List of PEI political parties
- Politics of Prince Edward Island
- Prince Edward Island Liberal Party leadership elections
Represented in the Legislative Assembly:Liberal - Progressive Conservative Other parties recognized by
Liberal Party of Canada Provincial wingsAffiliated provincial partiesFormerly affiliated parties National leadersLeadersDeputy Leaders Leadership elections1919 · 1948 · 1958 · 1968 · 1984 · 1990 · 2003 · 2006 · 2009 · 2013 Parliamentary election
See alsoHistory Politics of Prince Edward Island Lieutenant GovernorH. Frank Lewis • Former lieutenant governors Premier Opposition Leader Speaker of the AssemblyKathleen Casey • Former speakers Legislative Assembly Political parties Elections Current issues Other Canadian politics
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