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July 9, 2015
For immediate release

Islanders invited to engage in democratic renewal

Premier's Office

Premier Wade MacLauchlan today released a White Paper on Democratic Renewal encouraging all Islanders to engage in a robust discussion on how to best strengthen the democratic institutions of our province.

“Throughout our history, Prince Edward Island has benefitted from democratic renewal and evolution,” said the Premier. “This white paper invites all Islanders to work together as we build on our traditions and particular context to put Prince Edward Island on the map for our democratic processes and rates of participation.”

In the lead up to and during the recent election campaign there were calls for an engaged discussion on democratic renewal. In the speech from the throne government included a commitment to “initiate and support a thorough and comprehensive examination of ways in which to strengthen our electoral system, our representation, and the role and functioning of the Legislative Assembly.” With two decades having passed since the electoral reforms of 1994 and with a legal requirement that electoral boundaries be redrawn before the next provincial election, it is timely for Islanders to engage in a discussion on democratic renewal.

The white paper presents three sets of topics for discussion and decision: the method of how Islanders vote; the number and distribution of seats in the Legislative Assembly; and, opportunities to enhance election laws and representation in the Legislative Assembly.

Most recent discussions on electoral reform on Prince Edward Island and across Canada have focused on a choice between the status quo – First Past the Post – and Proportional Representation. The white paper presents a third option: the preferential ballot. Following extensive public engagement, a plebiscite will be held in 2016 on the three options.

A special committee of the Legislative Assembly will engage with Islanders on electoral reform and present an interim report by November 30, 2015.

The interim report will clarify the question to be posed in a plebiscite and present it to the Legislative Assembly. The committee will then continue to engage Islanders and present a final report during the spring 2016 sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

Additionally, the paper proposes a modified return to the dual-riding format that existed in Prince Edward Island prior to 1993. Specifically, the paper puts forward 24 seats in the Legislative Assembly that would be elected under the existing model, and an additional four seats that would follow the boundaries of the four federal ridings.

The white paper identifies related issues of electoral reform that may be timely for consideration, notably election spending and financing, and representativeness of the Legislative Assembly.

“Electoral reform affects every Islander, and government is committed to gaining the broadest possible input on these important questions,” said the Premier.

For a copy of the White Paper on Democratic Renewal please visit, www.gov.pe.ca/democraticrenewal.

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Media Contact: Mary Moszynski
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