On Feb. 9, Kevin Arsenault finished a strong third in the five-person race to become the the Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Party leader to replace James Aylward, who resigned as leader last year.
Arsenault, a long-time Island pro-life activist, was supported by Campaign Life Coalition because of his pro-life and pro-family policies. Arsenault supported defunding elective abortions, criticized Justin Trudeau’s assertion that abortion is a right, supported conscience rights for healthcare workers and parental rights in education, and rejected teaching the transgender ideology in PEI schools.
CLC gave Arsenault a green light and encouraged their Island supporters to purchase a PC membership in order to vote for him in the leadership race.
Dennis King, who has worked in media and government most his life, including as director of communication to former PEI premier Pat Binns, won handily on the second ballot, coming just short on the first one. King increased his vote total from 2,014 on the first ballot to 2,070 on the second, enough for a slim majority. Arsenault was third on both ballots, winning 590 and 661 votes respectively.
Allan Dale received 746 and 803 votes respectively for second while Sarah Stewart-Clark won 527 and 601 in the first and second rounds for fourth place. Shawn Driscoll won 307 votes on the first ballot before being dropped off.
Driscoll was given a yellow caution by CLC, and the organization encouraged their supporters to exclude him from their ballot as to reward only those candidates who are unambiguously pro-life.
King, Dale, and Stewart-Clark were all disqualified by CLC as pro-abortion and anti-family. King publicly identified himself as “pro-choice” on social media, Stewart-Clark is a supporter of the LGBQT agenda and abortion, and Dale said in a radio interview that he supported recent changes to bring taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand to the Island.
Arsenault was the last candidate to declare and CLC had only a week to activate its supporters to get involved in the leadership race. Jeff Gunnarson, national president of CLC, told The Interimhe was pleased with Arsenault’s showing and wondered if they had another week if they could have jumped ahead of Dale to finish second. “Regardless, Arsenault excited local pro-lifers to get involved in the political process and vote for someone who shared their values.” Gunnarson said CLC is encouraging Arsenault to run in the provincial election, expected later this spring, or in the federal election in October.