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The Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Party is one of two major political parties on Prince Edward Island. It and its rival, the Liberals have alternated in power since responsible government was granted in 1851 and are the only two parties represented in the PEI Legislative Assembly.
The policies of the Liberals and Conservatives are very similar. The major differences are in their allegiances to federal parties and in personalities. Historically, the Tories originated as the Prince Edward Island Conservative Party changing their name in 1942 to reflect the development of the federal Progressive Conservative Party.
Generally, the Conservatives have dominated center policies while the Liberals slightly to the left. Traditionally, the Tories have done better among Protestant voters while Liberals have had more support from Catholics - accordingly, the Conservatives have tended to do slightly better in the easternmost region of the island which is more Protestant while the Liberals have tended to do better on the western end where there are more Catholics. However, politics on the island has never been sectarian and both parties have always had voters and members from both populations. Indeed, it has been the custom until recently for a Liberal incumbent of one denomination to be opposed by a Tory challenger of the same denomination and vice versa and this had tended to minimise religious sectarianism within the parties.
The Progressive Conservative Party can, like other Tory parties in Atlantic Canada, be characterized as a moderate Red Tory party.
The Progressive Conservatives formed the government in Prince Edward Island under Premier Pat Binns, starting in 1996. The party lost its bid for a fourth mandate.
Following the resignation of former Premier Pat Binns, a leadership election will be held later, in 2010. Jim Bagnall became interim leader of the party in 2010 when Olive Crane decided to seek the permanent leadership of the party.
Past Conservative and PC leaders
- Edward Palmer 1851-1854
- John Holl 1854-1855
- Edward Palmer 1855-1863
- John Hamilton Gray 1863-1865
- James Colledge Pope 1865-1873
- Lemuel Cambridge Owen 1873-1877
- William Wilfred Sullivan 1877-1889
- Neil McLeod 1889-1892
- Daniel Gordon 1894-1903
- John Alexander Mathieson 1903-1917
- Aubin E. Arsenault 1917-1921
- James David Stewart 1921-1933
- William J. P. MacMillan 1933-1948
- unknown 1948-1950
- Reginald Bell 1950-1957
- Walter Shaw 1957-1970
- George Key 1970-1972
- Melvin McQuaid 1972-1976
- J. Angus MacLean 1976-1981
- James M. Lee 1981-1987
- Leone Bagnall 1987-1988 (interim)
- Melbourne Gass 1988-1990
- Pat Mella 1990-1996
- Pat Binns 1996-2007
- Olive Crane 2007-2010 (Interim)
- Jim Bagnall 2010 (interim)
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