Canada’s smallest province is well-known for its high voter turnout. This tradition of strong engagement in the democratic process makes it a particularly interesting site for introspection about forms of democratic renewal. In this article, the author, who serves as chair of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, provides the context and outlines the history leading to PEI’s most recent examination of its electoral system, which culminated in a plebiscite held from October 29 to November 7, 2016. *This article was written in August 2016.
The Government of Prince Edward Island recently indicated in its 2015 Speech from The Throne that it was committed to “initiate and support a thorough and comprehensive examination of ways in which to strengthen our electoral system, our representation, and the role and function of the Legislative Assembly.” Government also prepared and disseminated the White Paper on Democratic Renewal (the “White Paper”), in the most recent sitting of the Legislature. As the title would imply, the White Paper is a discussion paper surrounding democratic reform on Prince Edward Island, relating, in particular, to our voting method; the number and distribution of seats in our Legislative Assembly; and, opportunities to enhance election laws and representation in the Legislative Assembly.