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Green Party breakthrough in PEI could signal trouble for federal Liberals, NDP: experts

Last Updated Apr 24, 2019 at 9:59 am PDT

(Courtesy Green Party of Canada via Facebook)

The Green Party in PEI took a significant number of seats in a historic provincial election this week

While a Green wave across the country isn't likely, experts say the party could still post a threat for the federal vote

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The Green Party made history in the Prince Edward Island election by becoming the official opposition — the first time that has happened in Canada.

With an election around the corner, that could lead to a Green threat on the national stage.

With months to go before the fall federal vote, this PEI breakthrough will likely lend credibility to the Green brand across the country, and give the party a boost.

David Moscrop, a political scientist with the University of Ottawa, cautions not to expect any Green wave to sweep the nation. However, in what could be a tight election race, he says a stronger Green presence could pose a threat.

“One is that they act as a sort of spoiler in close ridings, and the other is that they end up electing a few Members of Parliament who become significant or even decisive in a minority situation,” he explains.

The Liberals and New Democrats are most at risk of losing votes to the Greens, and that could benefit the Conservatives.

Moscrop points out in the last election there were 70 seats that were decided by five per cent of the vote or less, so even slight changes could have a big impact.

He adds if it’s a minority parliament, the Greens could even hold the balance of power just like they do in British Columbia.

BC Green Party leader celebrates PEI election results

The latest provincial election may have taken place in the Maritimes, but the results from PEIĀ  have one B.C. political leader celebrating.

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has a smile on his face after the Greens finished with eight seats — second only to the Progressive Conservatives.

“The popular vote was very strong for the Greens at 31 per cent compared to the 36 and a half per cent for the PCs. Greens have a very strong second.”

Weaver says it’s more proof that Canadians — from coast to coast to coast — are looking at the Green Party as a viable option.

“[The Greens] have a lot to offer in a diverse area, both fiscally very progressive as well as socially progressive, and caring about the environment.”

The PC’s 12 seats aren’t enough for a majority government so that party will have to work with another if it wants the chance to govern the country’s smallest province.

“What we’re seeing from coast to coast and north to south is, essentially, the established party in power being summarily turfed out of office.”

The man who won the most seats — PC Leader Dennis King — has said he doesn’t expect to seek a formal coalition agreement with either of the two other parties.

With files from Peter Wagner and The Canadian Press