Prince Edward Island/ Ile-Du-Prince-Edouard

By Johnston, Marian | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Prince Edward Island/ Ile-Du-Prince-Edouard


Johnston, Marian, Canadian Parliamentary Review


The Fourth Session of the Sixty-second General Assembly opened on November 16 and adjourned to the call of the Speaker on December 15, 2006. The Assembly was recalled on April 3, 2007, and dissolved on April 30, 2007.

General Election

The Sixty-second General Assembly was dissolved on April 30, 2007, with a general election called for May 28, 2007. At dissolution the party standings in the House were 23 Progressive Conservative seats, and 4 Liberal seats. The previous General Election had been held on September 29, 2003.

With the dropping of the writ for the May 28th general election, new electoral boundaries for the province came into effect. The background to this change is as follows:

The Electoral Boundaries Act specified that, after the September 2003 provincial general election, an electoral boundaries commission would be asked to make recommendations as to the area, boundaries and names of the 27 electoral districts in Prince Edward Island. The Electoral Boundaries Commission began its work in January 2004, holding public hearings across the province. Following the release of its interim report on June 30, 2004, the Commission held additional public hearings, and released its final report on October 4, 2004.

In December 2005, the Special Committee on Prince Edward Island's Electoral Boundaries was appointed, by motion of the Legislative Assembly, to meet and receive opinion on this final report of the Commission. As a result of its deliberations, the Committee made a number of recommendations to improve the electoral process, principally, that the area and boundaries of the existing 27 electoral districts of the province be re-distributed so as to take into account, as far as practicable, community concerns as expressed during the public consultations, and that the deviation in absolute parity in the number of electors in each of the 27 electoral districts be limited to plus or minus 15% as compared to the electoral quotient (that is, the total number of electors in the province divided by 27), with the exception of the district of Evangeline Miscouche where the deviation was permitted to be greater to accommodate the cultural diversity of that area. The Committee also recommended that Elections PEI be charged with completing descriptions and producing maps of the boundaries of the electoral districts. The Committee's report was adopted by the Legislative Assembly on May 4, 2006, thus rejecting the boundaries as put forward by the Electoral Boundaries Commission some 18 months earlier.

Elections PEI complied with the directive of the Legislative Assembly, attempting to balance considerations of a community of interest, or community of identity in, or the historical pattern of an electoral district, with the democratic rights of the individual elector, as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to produce a report containing legal descriptions, names and maps for the province's 27 electoral districts.

This report formed the basis for Bill No. 49, An Act to Amend the Electoral Boundaries Act, introduced in the House on June 27, 2006. The Bill proposed to amend all 27 electoral district boundaries in accordance with the descriptions and maps produced by Elections PEI. It contained other measures, as well, including a change to the composition of future electoral boundaries commissions, and a requirement that the Legislative Assembly approve, by resolution, reports of future commissions and that government introduce legislation to establish new electoral districts in accordance with those proposals.

The Bill was amended significantly during committee stage on June 27 and June 28, 2006. All 27 electoral boundary descriptions, as outlined in the Bill, were rejected and replaced with yet another set of 27 electoral district legal descriptions as proposed by Cletus Dunn, Government House Leader (District 26, Alberton-Miminegash). …

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