Prince Edward Island’s Green leader keen to make electoral history
Prince Edward Island’s Green leader is contemplating making history – as the party’s first Canadian premier.
Islanders will go to the polls April 23 in a provincial election announced late Tuesday.
Recent polls have put the Greens out in front, and leader Peter Bevan-Baker believes his party can win a province that has only ever been governed by the Liberals or Tories.
“That possibility is there. Emotionally, politically and intellectually, I feel like I’m ready for that challenge, in a way that I wasn’t perhaps a year ago,” he said.
Bevan-Baker, 56, grew up in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1985, living in Newfoundland and then Ontario before settling in Prince Edward Island in 2003. He became a Canadian citizen in 1992.
A dentist by profession, he became his party’s first member of the P.E.I. legislature in 2015, following nine unsuccessful bids provincially and nationally for the party.
Since then, the Greens captured a second seat on the Island, and have been successful in getting members elected in other provinces, including three during last year’s New Brunswick election.
Bevan-Baker – who celebrated Tuesday’s election call by playing “First Call” on his trumpet at a nomination meeting – said he believes the time for the Green party has arrived.
“That sort of global movement away from conventional politics and unimaginative politicians, you see that expressed everywhere,” he said, citing recent elections in U.S. and Ontario as expressions of disgruntlement with conventional politics.
“I think what’s happening on P.E.I. is a local expression of that global phenomenon,” he said.
A Corporate Research Associates opinion poll released this month suggests the Greens had a healthy lead, followed by the Progressive Conservatives, who picked a new leader, Dennis King, in February.
The Liberals were in third place, the poll suggests.
Bevan-Baker said that both delights and surprises him. He said he has to accept the possibility of forming government.