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A Brief History of Electoral Reform on Prince Edward Island

Last updated 2011; Primary Source: Elections PEI; Secondary Sources: Journals of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, Parliamentary Guide, Executive Council Records.

1773 The first House of Assembly was elected on 4 July 1773 and consisted of 18 members.
1799 The name of the Island was changed to Prince Edward Island.
1803 The First Election Act was passed regarding elections to the House of Assembly.
1830 The right to vote was extended to Catholic males.
1838 The Assembly increased to 24 members elected in 4 dual member constituencies in each of the three counties.
1856 The Assembly was further expanded to 30 members elected in 5 dual member districts in each of the three counties. During this same period there was also a Legislative Council which represented electors with property interests. The Legislative Council initially consisted of 12 members and by 1859 was expanded to 17 members.
1861 An Act was proclaimed which made the Legislative Assembly elective and reduced its number of members to 13 members. These members were elected in dual member constituencies in each county and a single member constituency in the Charlottetown area.
1893 The Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council were joined to create 15 dual districts (30 members) with five electoral districts in each of the three counties.
1893 The Act Respecting the Representation of the People of the Legislature was passed by the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council adjusting the boundaries of ridings in Kings County so that the five districts in the County were more equitable in terms of population.
1921 Voting franchise was extended to include women.
1961 The Provincial Government appointed a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform.
1963 The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform recommended a provincial Election Act and also recommended the following: create the position of a Chief Electoral Officer; establish a system for enumerating electors; extend the vote to the Province's aboriginal peoples; abolish the franchise for Councillor seats; and the number of electoral districts remains at 15 dual member districts with the elimination of the electoral district of 5th Kings and a new electoral district added to Queens, namely, sixth Queens.
1965 Election Act was revised, the number of electoral districts was increased from 15 dual member districts to 16 dual member districts and the electoral district of 5th Kings was recreated and added to Kings County before the 1966 provincial general election.
1965 July 13, G. Lorne Monkley (1965 to 1978) was appointed as the province's first Chief Electoral Officer.
1967 An amendment to the Election Act was approved on May 17, 1967 changing the qualifications of electors from 21 years of age to 18 years of age on or before ordinary polling day. The first provincial election that followed this change was held on May 11, 1970.
1973 May 17 - Layton Schurman (1973 to 1996) was appointed as the province's first Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
1974 The provincial Government established a legislative committee, the Electoral Boundaries Committee. The committee recommended rearranging the electoral boundaries to provide for better geographical and population representation. The province took no action on the committee's recommendation.
1978  Nov 1 - Arthur J. Currie (1978 to 1986) was appointed as the province's second Chief Electoral Officer, with Layton Schurman remaining as the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
1982 Government of Canada adopted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
1986  Aug 7 - Merrill H. Wigginton (1986 to 2005) was appointed as the province's third Chief Electoral Officer, with Layton Schurman remainng as the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
1991 Feb 15 - Donald MacKinnon filed an application with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island asking that sections 147, 148, 149 150 and 151 of the Election Act be declared null and void. These sections were the electoral boundaries descriptions for the 16 electoral districts.
1992 Oct-Dec - Prince Edward Island Supreme Court held hearings before The Honourable Mr. Justice DesRoches. The City of Charlottetown joined Mr. MacKinnon as an intervenor
1993 Feb 16 - Justice DesRoches issued a decision stating that sections 147 to 151 of the Election Act were contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms pending the necessary legislative action to remedy the legislation. Justice DesRoches also recommended that remedial action should take place within a reasonable period of time.
1993 Sep 9 - Order in Council No. EC451/93 established the Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission.
1993 Oct - The Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission called for submissions from the public.
1994 Mar 17 - The Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission presented its final report to the Legislative Assembly of PEI recommending 30 single member districts.
1994 May 6 - Ross Young presented a private members bill, Bill No. 100, the Electoral Boundaries Act to the Legislative Assembly from which the present map has been drawn
1994 May 11 - Electoral Boundaries Act, Bill No. 100, received second reading.
1994 May 19 - Electoral Boundaries Act received Assent. This Act comes into force upon a passing of an order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council pursuant to section 5 of the Election Act for the general election next following enactment of this Act.
1995 Feb 17 - City of Charlottetown and other urban centres filed a Notice of Application to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island claiming the Electoral Boundaries Act was inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that the process by which the Legislative Assembly determined the Electoral Boundaries Act was flawed.
1996 Mar-Apr - Chief Justice K. R. MacDonald, Supreme Court, Trials Division, heard the City of Charlottetown's application.
1996 June 6 - Lowell J. Croken was appointed as the province's second Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
1996 Nov 18 - Provincial general election was held based on the newly designed electoral districts as approved by the Electoral Boundaries Act thus creating the first Legislative Assembly of 27 single members.
1996 Dec 13 - Chief Justice K. R. MacDonald, Supreme Court, Trials Division, dismissed the City of Charlottetown's application.
1998 The city of Charlottetown filed an application to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island requesting the Supreme Court to overturn Chief Justice MacDonald's December 13, 1996 electoral boundaries decision.
1998 Dec. 9-13 - The appeal of Mr. Justice Kenneth R. MacDonald's December 13, 1996, electoral boundaries decision was heard by the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island.
1999 April 6 - The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island issued a decision supporting Chief Justice MacDonald's December 13, 1996 decision.
1999 The City of Charlottetown filed an application to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa to requesting the Court to overturn Chief Justice MacDonald's December 13, 1996 electoral boundaries decision.
1999 December - The Supreme Court of Canada denies an application by the City of Charlottetown for leave to appeal a P.E.I. Supreme Court decision on the Electoral Boundaries Act.
2000 April 17 - general election was held electing the second Legislative Assembly based on the Electoral Boundaries Act 27 single member districts.
2001 The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, Special Committee on the Election Act requested Elections P.E.I. to review systems of proportional representations presently in existence in other jurisdictions.
2002 April 5 - Merrill H. Wigginton, Chief Electoral Officer, presented The Honourable Mildred Dover, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly with the Elections P.E.I. Report on Proportional Representation.
2003 January 21 - Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, Honourable Norman H. Carruthers was appointed to head the Prince Edward Island Commission on Electoral Reform. Commissioner Carruthers consulted with Islanders and delivered his 2003 Electoral Reform Commission Report to Premier Pat Binns on December 18, 2003.
  September 29 - general election was held electing the third Legislative Assembly based on the Electoral Boundaries Act 27 single member districts.
2004 January 5 - Electoral Boundaries Commission appointed to review the electoral boundaries for the 27 provincial electoral districts. The Commission was comprised of Justice John McQuaid, Chair and Commissioners John Mitchell, Q.C. and Roberta Hubley. The Commission released an interim report on June 30, 2004 and a final report on October 5, 2004 which was presented to The Honourable Greg Deighan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
  December 16 - The Legislative Assembly passed Motion No. 32 which directed the Legislative Standing Committee on Legislative Management to appoint an eight person commission, known as the Commission on Prince Edward Island's Electoral Future.
The Commission is directed to further the work of the Prince Edward Island Electoral Reform Commission. The Commission is to develop and conduct a public education program, designed to increase among the general public of P.E.I. awareness of the present First Past the Post Electoral System and a Mixed Member Proportional System as well as to develop a clear and concise plebiscite question.
2005 February 17 - Hon. Greg Deighan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Chair of the Standing Committee on Legislative Management, announced appointments to the Commission on Prince Edward Island's Electoral Future. Speaker Deighan said, "The Standing Committee on Legislative Management was directed by the Legislative Assembly to appoint an eight Member Commission to:
  • develop and conduct a public education program to increase among Islanders an understanding of our present "first past the post" electoral system and, as an alternative, a mixed member proportional system
  • develop a plebiscite question on which electoral system is preferred by Islanders
  • recommend when a plebiscite on this matter should be held
  April 30 - Lowell J. Croken was appointed as the Acting Chief Electoral Officer.
  September 7 - The Green Party of Prince Edward Island was officially registered as the fourth provincial political party on P.E.I.
  November 28 - Provincial Plebiscite for the Mixed Member Proportional System for Prince Edward Island. The Plebiscite was run under the Plebiscites Act and the Proportional System Regulations.
2006 May 4 - Legislative Assembly rejected the proposed electoral boundaries as recommended by the Electoral Boundaries Commission on October 5, 2004. The Legislative Assembly Report of the Special Committee on Prince Edward Island's Electoral Boundaries directed Elections P.E.I. to produce new electoral maps and descriptions delineating the area and boundaries of the province's 27 electoral districts. The boundaries were to be limited to a plus or minus of 15% variance as compared to the electoral quotient.
   May 9 - Lowell J. Croken was appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer. Norma Palmer-Bowers was appointed as the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
  June 14 - Elections P.E.I. Report of the Descriptions and Maps for the Proposed 27 Electoral Districts was released to the public.
  June 28 - The Legislative Assembly approved Bill No. 49 - An Act to Amend the Electoral Boundaries Act creating new electoral boundaries as proposed by Cletus Dunn MLA, District No. 26 Alberton - Miminegash.
2007 April 27 - Election Act was amended to establish fixed election dates at four year intervals with the next general election to be held on Monday, May 12, 2008 and thereafter, general elections shall be held on the second Monday of May in the fourth calendar year following ordinary polling day in the most recent election.
  May 28 - General election was held electing the first Legislative Assembly based on the 2006 amended Electoral Boundaries Act 27 single member districts.
2008 May 22 - Election Act was amended to change the fixed election date to Monday, October 3, 2011 and thereafter, general elections shall be held on the first Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following ordinary polling day in the most recent election (October 3, 2011).
2010 March 5 - The Island Party of Prince Edward Island was officially registered as the fifth provincial political party on P.E.I.
2011 October 3 - General election was held electing the second Legislative Assembly based on the 2006 amended Electoral Boundaries Act 27 single member districts.
2012 April 2 - Norma Palmer-Bowers retired as the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
  November 22 - Judy Richard was appointed as the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
2013 January 4 - Gary McLeod was appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer.
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