Loyal Electors | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Loyal Electors

Loyal Electors, political group active in Prince Edward Island 1806-12.

Loyal Electors, political group active in Prince Edward Island 1806-12. Either during or shortly after the elections for the PEI House of Assembly in 1806 a loose alliance of 5 members of the House came together as the Club of Loyal Electors, opposed to the supporters of former governor Edmund Fanning who dominated colonial politics at the turn of the 19th century. A leading member of the Loyal Electors was James Bardin Palmer, a Charlottetown lawyer, but the membership included a number of other leading residents of the Island, most of whom were recent immigrants.

The group had some success in by-elections and following a general election in 1812 emerged with 7 members in the 18-seat assembly. As some of the members of the House refused to attend the sessions, the Loyal Electors won effective control of the Assembly. The group, however, had no real platform of reform and, while opposed to the "family compact" which dominated Island politics, did not offer a substantial alternative.

Their success was further limited owing to charges of disloyalty brought against several members and following the arrival of a new governor late in 1812 the power of the group was severely diminished. Some historians have seen in the Loyal Electors the beginning of a reform party tradition in PEI, but it is more accurate to identify the Electors as a short-lived political grouping who reacted to particular circumstances in the colony.