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Awful or awesome?

['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']
['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

is either a rookie mistake which shows they are not ready to government or an astute political strategy aimed at forcing an election and achieving a majority. Time will soon tell.

When the P.E.I. legislature convened recently after the recent election, the first order of business was the election of the speaker. Two members put their names forward for consideration, one a member of government, the other a member of the third party caucus.

Premier Dennis King, whose PCs hold 12 of the seats compared to eight for the Greens and six for the Liberals, allowed his members a “free” vote on the issue. The government member won the vote and will sit in the Speakers Chair. Good for him, but not necessarily good for the government.

With the election of a government backbencher to the Speakership, the government has reduced its already fragile minority to just 11 seats. There is one seat which will be filled later this month in a deferred election, which could add a member to any of the three caucuses. Even if the government wins, they would only be back to 12 voting members.

The third party candidate for speaker was a former PC before crossing the aisle to sit with the Liberals.

I wrote in an earlier column how I thought he might be able to be persuaded to join, or at least support, the PCs in the House.Electing him Speaker could have gone a considerable way to enlisting that support while reducing the combined opposition's voting power by one vote.

While electing an opposition speaker, and winning the deferred election would not give the government an outright majority, it would give them a balance with the opposition, which is better than being outnumbered as they now will be. Conventional wisdom would have suggested they ensure the election of the opposition speaker.

An awesome or an awful decision? As I say, time will tell.

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill.

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