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H. Wade MacLauchlan, CM, OPEI, MLA, 32nd premier of Prince Edward Island (2015–19), president of University of Prince Edward Island (1999–2011), lawyer, academic (born 10 December 1954 in Stanhope, PEI). MacLauchlan was sworn in as premier of Prince Edward Island on 23 February 2015, becoming the province’s first openly gay premier. The former law professor and university president received the Order of Canada in 2008 and the Order of Prince Edward Island in 2014. He is the author of Alex B. Campbell: The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked the Cradle (2014).
Politics in Ontario
The province of Ontario has a majority Progressive Conservative government, formed on 7 June 2018. The premier of the province is Doug Ford and the lieutenant-governor is Elizabeth Dowdeswell. Its first premier, John Sandfield Macdonald, began his term in 1867, after the province joined Confederation. Between the start of European colonization and Confederation, the southern portion of what is now Ontario was controlled first by the French and then by the British, while much of the northern part was controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Ontario (Upper Canada) received representative government in 1791, from which time the colony was governed by a House of Assembly, a lieutenant-governor, and executive and legislative councils. In 1848, Ontario (Canada West) received responsible government. From this point the colony was governed by a House of Assembly, premier, and executive and legislative councils.
Dennis (Denny) King, 33rd premier of Prince Edward Island (2019–), leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of PEI, journalist, communications specialist, author and storyteller (born 1 November 1971 in Georgetown, PEI). Dennis King was sworn in as premier of Prince Edward Island on 9 May 2019. In the general election of 23 April 2019, King and the Progressive Conservative party won a minority, defeating the incumbent Liberal premier, Wade MacLauchlan. King leads the first minority government in the island province since the provincial election of 1890.
First Minister’s Meeting
After a rocky start that saw Ontario premier Doug Ford threaten to walk out in protest over the Trudeau government’s proposed carbon tax, the annual first minister’s meeting wrapped up with little fanfare and few accomplishments. The ministers signed off on a communiqué that included short-term financial support for the energy sector.
Politics on Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island has a minority Progressive Conservative government, elected 23 April 2019. The premier is Dennis King and the lieutenant-governor is Antoinette Perry. Peter Bevan-Baker leads the only Green Party opposition in Canada. Until 2019, only the Liberals or Progressive Conservatives had ever governed or formed the official opposition. The dominance of these two parties has led some to call PEI the purest two-party system in the country. Yet PEI has seen a number of electoral firsts: Aubin-Edmond Arsenault was Canada’s first Acadian premier; Joe Ghiz was Canada’s first premier of non-European descent; and Catherine Callbeck was the first woman in Canada to win an election as premier.
PCs Win Minority Government in PEI, Green Party Becomes Official Opposition
Two months after becoming party leader, Dennis King led the Progressive Conservatives to a minority government in PEI with 12 seats and 36.5 per cent of the popular vote. Peter Bevan-Baker and the Green Party became the official opposition with 8 seats and 30.6 per cent of the vote, the best-ever showing for the party in a provincial or federal election.
Jason Kenney and United Conservative Party Win Alberta Election
The United Conservative Party, formed in 2017 by a merging of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party, won a majority government in the Alberta provincial election. They secured 63 seats with 54.9 per cent of the popular vote, compared to 24 seats and 32.7 per cent of the vote won by Rachel Notley and the NDP. Jason Kenney, who ran on a platform to scrap the carbon tax, cut the corporate tax rate from 12 to eight per cent and hold a referendum on equalization payments if there is no progress on pipelines, became the 18th premier of Alberta.
Thomas Clement (“Tommy”) Douglas, CC, premier of Saskatchewan, first leader of the New Democratic Party, Baptist minister and politician (born 20 October 1904 in Falkirk, Scotland; died 24 February 1986 in Ottawa, Ontario). Douglas led the first socialist government elected in Canada and is recognized as the father of socialized medicine in Canada. He also helped establish democratic socialism in mainstream Canadian politics.
Politics in British Columbia
The province of British Columbia has a majority New Democratic Party government, formed on 24 October 2020. The premier of the province is John Horgan and the lieutenant-governor is Janet Austin. Its first premier, John Foster McCreight, was elected in 1871, after the province joined Confederation. Prior to Confederation, BC was a British colony, administered by a governor and a legislative assembly.
Provincial Government in Canada
Under Canada’s federal system, the powers of government are shared between the federal government and 10 provincial governments. The Constitution Act, 1867 granted specific jurisdiction to the provinces in 16 areas, compared to 29 for the federal government. However, provincial powers have expanded since then. Provinces can levy direct taxation and derive most of their non-tax revenue from the use of public lands and natural resources. Provincial governments in Canada are modelled on the British Westminster parliamentary tradition and reflect the principles of responsible government. They comprise an elected legislative assembly, from which a governing cabinet is selected by the premier. The lieutenant-governor assents to legislation as the representative of the Crown.
New Brunswick Election Ends in Standoff
The New Brunswick general election ended with Blaine Higgs’s Conservative Party winning the most seats with 22 — three shy of a majority. Having won the popular vote by a 6 per cent margin but with only 21 seats, incumbent Liberal Premier Brian Gallant refused to step down. The Liberals and Conservatives were unable to gain support of the Green and People’s Alliance parties, which won 3 seats each, leaving no party or coalition with a majority. On 2 November, the legislature voted against Gallant’s throne speech, giving Higgs the opportunity to form a government. He was sworn in as Premier on 9 November.
Prorogation in Canada
A prorogation is a suspension of Parliament. All parliamentary activity is stopped, but the government remains in power and is not dissolved. Every session of Parliament begins with a summons and ends with prorogation; both are issued by the governor general (or lieutenant-governor at the provincial level) at the government’s request. Throughout Canadian history, governments have at times used prorogation to their own advantage. The main purpose of prorogation is to wipe clean the Order Paper of old or existing business and to set a new legislative agenda. All unfinished business at the end of a session dies on the Order Paper. There are procedures in place to reinstate previous activities in a new session, which begins with a Speech from the Throne.