They’ve lived in the same electoral district for years and they’ve gotten each other’s mail by accident.
Now, two politicians with the same name are running against each other in the upcoming provincial election.
There are two Matthew MacKays running for MLA in District 20, Kensington-Malpeque, one for the Progressive Conservative party and one for the Green party.
Both politicians said they are not worried about confusion at the ballot box.
“If this was Toronto (or) we had 100,000 people I could see where it would be an issue, but District 20, out here we all lived here, we all grew up here, everybody knows who everybody is,” said the Green MacKay.
PC MacKay is the current MLA for Kensington-Malpeque, which has about 4,000 constituents.
Since PC MacKay ran in the last election and won, the Greens decided that Green MacKay would use his middle initial to help identify himself on the campaign trail and on the ballot.
He will be “Matthew J. MacKay”, using his initial for John.
“They had offered to use his middle initial, which I thought was great of them to offer,” said PC MacKay, who grew up in French River and now lives in North Granville.
The two politicians met face to face for the first time six months ago.
They have known of each other for many years living in the Kensington area. The PC MacKay went to school with Green MacKay’s children, and sometimes they even get each other’s mail.
“I trained myself to check my mail before I open it,” said the Green MacKay, who grew up in Stanley Bridge and now lives in Sea View. “It’s almost like Matthew and I are pen pals.”
Paul Alan, manager of election operations and communications for Elections P.E.I., said there will be no confusion on the ballot as to which Matthew MacKay is which.
Next to a name, the ballot has the logo to the political party the candidate is with, as well as the community they are from.
“The way the ballots are done, there shouldn’t be any miscommunication as to who’s who because it will be very well noted as to which party they’re with,” said Alan. “If you’re looking at the names and you’re not sure, I’m sure you know which party you’re going for.”
Alan said having two candidates with the same name could be a first, at least in the last half of the past century.
“I don’t recall it ever happening,” he said. “I haven’t looked into the past yet. Perhaps there was something way back in the early 1900s. I can’t be sure.”
Green MacKay said what’s most important is knowing the political platforms of each candidate come voting time.
“What’s really important here is people know which Matthew is which in the sense of, ‘this is what this Matthew stands for’ and ‘this is what Matthew J. stands for’ and vote accordingly.”
For now, there are no Liberal, NDP or other candidates running in District 20.
Under the P.E.I. Elections Act, an election must be called before the first Monday in October 2019.