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Cablegate: Liberals Sweep to Power in Prince Edward Island Provincial

VZCZCXRO8849
PP RUEHGA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHHA #0045 1491445
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291445Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL HALIFAX
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1186
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0443
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHHA/AMCONSUL HALIFAX 1258

UNCLAS HALIFAX 000045

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CAN AND INR/B

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR CA
SUBJECT: LIBERALS SWEEP TO POWER IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND PROVINCIAL
ELECTION

REF: HALIFAX 0025

1. SUMMARY: In a surprisingly easy win, PEI Liberals ended 11
years of Tory rule in the May 28 provincial election. Robert
Ghiz and the Liberals took 23 of the province's 27 districts,
leaving the once mighty Tories with the remaining four. The New
Democratic Party and the Green party again failed to elect a
member. Ghiz and his Liberals will take power on June 13. Post
does not foresee the new government changing any policies that
could affect relations with the United States. Ghiz will now
take over from Binns as this year's host of the annual
Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian
Premiers scheduled for June 25-26 in PEI. END SUMMARY

2. Prince Edward Island Liberals, under leader Robert Ghiz,
crushed the incumbent Tory Government of Premier Pat Binns in
the May 28 provincial election. Ghiz, the 33-year old son of a
popular former premier, took the public and his opponents by
surprise in capturing 23 of the Legislature's 27 seats. The
Tories, now the official opposition, were left with just four
and the NDP and Green parties again were not able to elect a
member. The results exactly reversed the PC and Liberal
standings in the Legislature before Binns called the election on
April 30. Although Binns retained his own seat, the election
results were a crushing personal defeat for Binns who had been
seeking an unprecedented fourth mandate.

3. Throughout the campaign our Island contacts had predicted
that the electorate was in the mood for a change, but even Ghiz
himself acknowledged that the margin of victory was more than he
and his party had anticipated. Added to this was the perception
that the Tories were getting desperate and had resorted to
making expensive and ill-conceived spending announcements with
no explanation of how to pay for them. Just what Binns did and
did not do on the campaign trail will certainly be the main
topic of post-electoral discussion across the Island in the
weeks and months ahead, especially the question of whether Binns
will be staying on to lead his party from the Opposition
benches. For now the focus is on Premier-Elect Ghiz as he puts
together his transition team for his swearing in as premier on
June 13. Given that the Liberal platform also contained some
expensive promises, a review of the province's fiscal situation
will no doubt be the first order of business. Ghiz will have an
early, high-visibility opportunity to shine when he hosts the
annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian
Premiers scheduled for June 25-26 in PEI. (Comment: As post
reported reftel, Ghiz and Binns share much of the same political
philosophies and we do not expect to see Ghiz make any
significant changes in PEI policy that could affect relations
with the United States. End comment)

4. Post will transmit a bio report on Robert Ghiz via septel.

FOSTER

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