On May 5, Albertans will elect a provincial government. That’s exciting news, but one group has it beat. Canada’s tiniest province, Prince Edward Island, faces an election today. No one outside the island is paying attention to this election because, well, we’re talking about P.E.I. That doesn’t mean that the island campaign is short on good stories. To the contrary, news out of Kellys Cross-Cumberland, a P.E.I. electoral district that may be the size of an average backyard, shows that this election might be the zaniest in recent memory.
What’s so zany about it? A poll commissioned by the Green Party of P.E.I. shows that Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker has a 5-point lead over the Liberal incumbent in Kellys Cross-Cumberland. Whoa, the Greens can afford to commission polls? Incredible!
Keeping with the zany theme, let’s do something truly nuts: let’s assume that the banter on the CBC comment boards is somehow connected to reality. By many accounts on the CBC comment board for this story, Bevan-Baker was the best candidate in his riding from the moment the writ dropped. Then, so say the commenters, he won the leaders’ debate because he “simply told the truth.” You might think these would be reasons to vote for him. If so, you’re off your rocker. The rules of Canadian politics in the 21st century are: (1) the best candidate almost never wins, and (2) the best debate strategy is to say as little as possible and to avoid the truth whenever possible. Has Bevan-Baker flipped the gentle island upside down?
It’s hard to draw conclusions until the votes are cast and counted, but, what the heck, let’s make a few preliminary judgments. What do people do when they are so pissed off that they don’t care anymore? They vote Green! Look at the national stage where voter apathy and disengagement are at all-time highs: people are voting Green in record numbers and the Greens are forecast to win multiple seats in the upcoming election. It seems like average folks throw support to their local Green candidate sooner than they throw in the towel, even if only barely. So, what can we conclude about P.E.I.? If Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker wins in Kellys Cross-Cumberland, it will be safe to assume that P.E.I. has gone to the dogs, but that all hope is not yet lost. Leave it to an unlikely hero, a wily old dentist, to save the day.