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Canadians should be watching PEI — no, really

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Now here’s a statement you don’t hear every day: “The whole country is watching Prince Edward Island.”

Indeed, the last time a phrase like that was accurate may have been a few days in September 1864, when political worthies gathered in Charlottetown to set the path to Confederation. But federal Green party leader Elizabeth May wasn’t wholly wrong when she suggested PEI is about to play an outsized role in Canadian politics.

To understand why, you need to consider May’s full sentence: “The whole country is watching Prince Edward Island and watching Peter Bevan-Baker and the Prince Edward Island Green poised to make real history.”

Bevan-Baker is PEI’s Green leader and, if polls are to be believed, he may indeed be set to form Canada’s first Green party government after the island votes on April 23. The soundings indicate the Greens are leading the Progressive Conservatives, with the Liberals in third place. Though PEI is a tiny place with a population of just 153,000, a victory would set a noteworthy precedent and suggest Canadians are beginning to take the party seriously enough to accord it a bigger role in future campaigns.

Greens have been making small breakthroughs for some time now. There was May’s success in becoming the first elected member of Parliament in 2011; two years later the party won its first seat in British Columbia, and in 2017 added two more, enough for it to act as a prop to hold up the NDP government of Premier John Horgan. Greens won their first seat in Ontario in 2018, and won three seats in New Brunswick in September, outpolling........

© National Post