The eight (8) month campaigning period for the referendum on electoral reform began on February 1, 2019, so unless the government takes drastic measures to intervene and amend the referendum legislation when the House opens at 2 pm on April 2, 2019 – the options are either to have an election this Spring, or early in the Fall. The last day an election can be called for the Fall is September 3, and it must be held not later than September 30, 2019. With a federal election scheduled to take place on or before October 21, 2019, the most logical option would be to have a Spring election.
Most people guessing the election will happen this Spring also likely believe that Wade will wait until the House opens on April 2nd to drop the writ. This gives government a preferential “first-out-of-the-gate” opportunity to grab all the media attention for the first day of the writ period with the announcement; it allows the government to essentially map out its election platform in an uninterrupted Throne Speech, immediately shut down the legislative assembly, and get a decisive jump on other political parties in the election campaign.
I don’t think the election will happen in the Fall; and I don’t think the government will take extraordinary measures to push it to next Spring; nor do I think the election will be called on the opening day of the Spring sitting of the legislative assembly.
Here’s my prediction.
There will be a Spring election on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, and the election writ will be dropped next week.
And here’s my rationale.
According to Section 5(1)(b) of the PEI Elections Act, general elections in PEI must happen on a Monday, and they can’t take place for at least 26 days – but not more than 32 days – after the writ is dropped. However, because Monday April 22 is Easter Monday, it will likely be pushed to Tuesday, April 23rd.
If MacLauchlan waits until the House opens on April 2nd to drop the writ , the election won’t take place until early May, and that’s a big problem for the Liberal government’s long-standing strategy to keep the truth about the e-gaming scandal and the merits of the CMT lawsuit hidden from public view.
The Liberal government has been stalling on the next big e-gaming court date for nearly a year, when a Motion to Dismiss was first filed against Capital Markets Technologies (CMT). But that elaborate delay-tactic is fast coming to an end.
Both parties will be back in court on April 23, 2019, with four consecutive days, and the government will not likely want the that e-gaming information to become public knowledge just before an election if it can avoid it.
The long process leading up to the scheduled April 23rd CMT court date involved the filing of affidavits, the production of records, and submission of factums from both sides; as well as the cross-examination of witnesses. The transcripts from those cross-examinations will become public on April 23rd, as well as all the additional information and arguments pertaining to this case. I expect the revelations will be devastating to the Liberal government.
Let’s not forget that the MacLauchlan government came into power promising to do things differently; to govern with ethics; to be open, transparent, and accountable. Yet, it has consistently done everything in its power to hide the sordid truth about e-gaming.
That charade is quickly coming to an end, and my prediction of an April 23rd election date is premised on the calculation that Wade will need the election to be over and done with before the CMT hearing happens if his Party is to win any seats at all.
It’s also my understanding that the PNP whistleblower lawsuit will be commencing in May. As well, the Information Commissioner, Karen Rose, will be filing a decision on the MacLauchlan government’s decision to withhold e-gaming records from me, in an access request, also sometime in May….so time is definitely not on Wade’s side!
I sincerely hope I’m wrong with my prediction and that the election happens much later in the Spring, or even next Fall: Islanders deserve to see the same information on e-gaming that the Judge will be presented on April 23-27, 2019 before deciding who should be in government.
But I’m also convinced that the extent of the corruption and malfeasance that will be revealed in CMT’s defence of the government’s cynical Motion to Dismiss their e-gaming case will be devastating for the Liberal government and every Liberal MLA vying for a seat in the PEI Legislature.