P.E.I. Tory leader says ‘resistance’ politics of counterparts isn’t his style

CHARLOTTETOWN — The leader of the Prince Edward Island party poised to form the Island’s next government isn’t sounding much like his tough-talking counterparts in Alberta and Ontario, preferring the gentle “Island way” over the politics of confrontation.

Dennis King’s Progressive Conservatives won the most seats in the provincial election Tuesday, and he’s aiming to form a minority government after a campaign where one leader’s debate was referred to as a “nice-off.”

The 47-year-old former journalist and public relations entrepreneur says a co-operative approach is precisely the one he intends to carry on with his Green Party and Liberal opposition, as he sets outs to run the province without a formal coalition.

King pointedly states he doesn’t plan to join “the resistance” of Conservative premiers in lining up to be a collective foil to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals.

“I don’t see myself as any kind of resistance anywhere,” King said Wednesday.

“Prince Edward Island is a lot different than politics in Ontario. The tone and tenor of the election here was pretty much a stark contrast to what you see in those other two provinces.”

The 27-day race was characterized by a refined and genteel tone.

The leaders of all four registered parties in P.E.I. rarely disagreed on policy and refrained from personal or partisan attacks.

It worked well for King, whose party had struggled with internal squabbles, a revolving door of leaders and dismal polling numbers for more than a decade.

Now, he faces the task of officially forming government.

The Tories won 12 of P.E.I.’s 27 seats in the provincial election Tuesday — the first minority outcome in a P.E.I. election since 1890.

The Greens won eight seats and will become the first Green party to sit as the Official Opposition in Canada. The incumbent Liberals won just six seats after enjoying majority status for the last 12 years. One seat remains unfilled, with a byelection planned.

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