So, as we all know by now, Hal Perry is a member of the P.E.I. Liberal Caucus, Olive Crane is a member of, well, nothing, and the childish, destructive infighting of the Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Party continues.
It’s akin to watching lemmings plunge to their deaths over an arctic escarpment; since lemmings are not yet extinct, it seems there may yet be hope for the Tories, but how long will it take for them to lick their self-inflicted wounds and get back to the business of attempting to form a government at some future date, remains unclear.
That aside, however, and bubbling just below the surface of Friday’s ouster of former leader Crane, is what it will mean when voters in Morell-Mermaid go the the polls in 2015.
Curiously, a similar game played out across the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland North riding when Tory MLA and cabinet minister Ernest Fage was abandoned by his party after allegations of leaving the scene of an accident while impaired.
Like Crane, Fage refused to go down without a fight. He chose to run as an independent in the following provincial election. Crane says she will do the same.
Despite the allegations against him, Cumberland North, a cradle of Tory blue if ever there was one, was clearly divided.
When all the votes were counted in Nova Scotia in 2009, it was the NDP that, for the first time ever, took the seat. Confused Conservatives spilt their votes between the PC candidate and Fage. Had the Fage and Conservative tallies been combined for one candidate they would have held on to the seat with a cushion of more than 350 votes.
Could Morell-Mermaid expect the same?
We think so. Granted it was in a different province, but if a former MLA/cabinet minister tainted by scandal can beat his Conservative opponent by more than 800 votes and still not win the seat, couldn’t Olive Crane running as an independent, and whose apparent only sin is not conforming to the whims of the backroom, beat out a Conservative for the seat she already occupies? You bet.
But that isn’t even the worst news for Conservatives in Morell-Mermaid. The upstart NDP, who have now overtaken the Tories in the most recent public opinion polls under new leader Mike Redmond, and the Liberals must be rubbing their hands together with glee at the possibility of taking what was, at least at the time of the last election, one of only five Tory seats.
It’s almost as if the Tories have given the seat which they have held since 1996 away – the only question now is to whom?