3 of 4 P.E.I. provincial leaders plan to steer clear of federal campaign

The three provincial MLAs who led their parties through the spring sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature say they plan to steer clear of campaigning during the federal election.

"Personally, for myself, I won't be getting involved in the election," said Premier Dennis King, leader of the Progressive Conservatives.

"I think that the job of premier is to be the premier of Prince Edward Island, and to be ready to work with whoever Canadians select as their national government."

King said he also advised members of his cabinet "to always remember that you work for the people of Prince Edward Island in your role, and they expect you to have the ability to have a good relationship with the federal government, whoever is in charge."

While he hasn't gone so far as to ban his cabinet from the campaign trail, King said he directed them "to be as careful as possible. ...There's a fine line that we always try to follow here in P.E.I. politics, that if you're a member of the cabinet, to tread more carefully than perhaps others need to when you get involved in politics in other provinces or the national scene."

No 'natural home' for PCs on federal stage

While King worked behind the scenes with the federal Conservatives during the early Harper years, he readily admits that his P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives don't fully align with the Conservative Party of Canada under Andrew Scheer.


"I'm a fiscal conservative and a social progressive and so there are many things within the federal Conservative Party that I align with," King said.

"But there's also things within the New Democratic Party that I can find some comfort in as well as the current government, the Liberal Party, and of course philosophically on the environment I think we align closely with the Green Party. So there's not a natural home for a Progressive Conservative like me on the national stage."

Up to Green MLAs to decide, leader says

The Official Opposition leader and leader of the Green Party, Peter Bevan-Baker, attended the launch of the Green campaign in Charlottetown Thursday night.

Outside of that, however, he doesn't expect he will be very active.

"I expect that I won't have much time to devote to the campaign," said Bevan-Baker.

Kerry Campbell/CBC

"I haven't been out campaigning with any of the candidates to date, and I plan to remain focused on provincial affairs and my work as leader of the Official Opposition."

Bevan-Baker himself is no stranger to federal campaigns, having run multiple times unsuccessfully before winning his first election, provincially, in 2015.

He said it would be up to each individual MLA within the Green caucus to decide for themselves whether to get involved in the federal contest.

Robert Mitchell led the third-party Liberals in the legislature during the spring sitting, though he recently stepped down as interim party leader.

Steve Bruce/CBC

He's considering a run for the permanent leadership of the party.

"Speaking for myself, I do not plan to take an active role in the federal election," Mitchell told CBC via email.

The Liberals are expected to choose a new interim leader at an executive meeting Monday night.

NDP leader on the ballot in Charlottetown

The fourth provincial party leader on P.E.I. is making no pledge to stay out of federal politics.

Joe Byrne led the provincial New Democrats during the spring provincial election but failed to win a seat.

Steve Bruce/CBC

On Thursday he was acclaimed as the NDP candidate for Charlottetown for the Oct. 21 federal election. This will be his third federal race.

"Determination is never a fault," Byrne said of the decision to stand for another campaign.

"I love the back-and-forth that comes with people at the doorsteps," he said.

"Democracy is supposed to be engaging. I love that part of it."

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