Just when Islanders thought the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island couldn’t be in more trouble, there came a shocking turn of events.
Former party leader and outspoken MLA Olive Crane was given the boot late Friday afternoon.
Ridding the party of Crane is something, some might say, that has been in the works behind closed doors for months. Last fall, Crane narrowly escaped a leadership review, then, weeks later, announced she was stepping down as leader due to what she called backroom politics.
Crane’s boot from caucus, however, blindsided the veteran politician.
With Crane out of caucus, she plans to run as an independent but still keep to task.
Her banishment came a little more than 24 hours after Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry’s shocking announcement that he was defecting from the party and crossing the floor to join the Liberals.
Thursday morning, surrounded by his new political friends and while choking back tears, Perry said the move was best, noting he felt muzzled by the party for the past nine months, which, coincidently, is about the same time Crane stepped down.
Now, the PCs are down to three.
Who will be next?
And, after such a massive and public implosion, how does the party, which has slipped in the public’s favour to third behind the New Democrats, a first in this province’s history, recover?
Leadership is the first thing that must be addressed.
The party needs a strong leader, one not to be swayed by the so-called backroom boys.
It is those players, according to Crane, who successfully rid the party of her presence. And, many might say, those same players very well may have been a big contributing factor in pushing Perry, a supporter of Crane’s, to flee to the Liberals.
Soon after Crane quit as leader, a power struggle emerged once again in the party, apparent in the confusion over who was to lead the charge — Perry or Myers — until a leader was chosen by party faithful.
Myers was victorious and it would appear, continues to win, being among the last men standing in a caucus in ruins and a party that will have difficulty recovering from last week’s events and an even tougher time gaining the confidence of voters.
Picking up the pieces and moving forward won’t be an easy task.
Until there is solid leadership within the PC Party it would appear, for the time being at least, it’s a good time to be a Liberal on P.E.I.