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Appendix - Chronology of Prince Edward Island's Democratic Evolution

1720-1725 Île Saint-Jean founded as a proprietary colony
1726-1758 Île Saint-Jean administered as a satellite of Royal Colony in Île Royale
1763 Treaty of Paris transfers ownership of Island to Great Britain; falls under jurisdiction of Nova Scotia
1769 St. John’s Island granted colonial status
1770 Governor Patterson appoints a seven-member Council
1773 First House of Assembly elected: one riding, 18 members; Council for a time doubles as both Legislative and Executive Council
1774 Governor given discretion in timing and format for elections
1784 Governorship reduced in status to Lieutenant-Governor under the nominal direction of first Nova Scotia, and then Canada
1787 Island divided into three county ridings with four members at large from each county and two representatives from each county capital and royalty
1803 First Election Act formalizes existing electoral practice
1804 Length of term in Legislature set at seven years
1830 Roman Catholics (45% of the population) given right to vote and hold public office, one year after enfranchisement in Great Britain
1833 Length of term for Legislature set at four years
1834 Legislature no longer dissolved upon death of reigning monarch
1838 House of Assembly enlarged to 24 members elected from 12 dual-member ridings, four in each county, including two members from each county capital and royalty
1839 Legislative and Executive Councils formally separated, making it possible for members of the elected House of Assembly to be named to the Executive Council
1848 Multi-day voting abolished in wake of bloody Belfast Riot of 1847
1851 Responsible Government granted; henceforth, the Executive Council (i.e. the Cabinet) chosen on recommendation of leader commanding a majority in the elected House of Assembly
1856 House of Assembly enlarged to 30 members, chosen from 15 dual-member constituency
1861 Capital of Prince County (and its seats) moved from Princetown to Summerside
1862 Legislative Council made elective, with 13 members, chosen from two dual-member ridings per county with one member from Charlottetown; property franchise
1873 Prince Edward Island enters Confederation
1877 Voting by secret ballot replaces oral, open voting
1879 Voting by secret ballot repealed, largely because of expense
1893 Riding of 5th Kings (Georgetown Royalty) enlarged to encompass surrounding headlands in order to address low population in the riding
1893 Legislative Council and House of Assembly are combined into a 30-member “Legislative Assembly,” with 15 dual-member ridings, five per county. Each riding elects Assemblyman (MLA), elected according to adult male suffrage and a Councillor (MLC), elected on a property franchise. Any voter owning $325 in property in a constituency can vote in that riding
1913 Secret ballot re-introduced
1922 Women receive the right to vote and hold public office
1951 The first woman runs for elected office, Hilda Ramsay, CCF
1962 Report of the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform
1963 Aboriginal people given right to vote in provincial elections
1964 Election Act abolishes property vote and multiple voting; re-distribution eliminates 5th Kings riding and creates 6th Queens
1966 Amendment to the Election Act restores 5th Kings and enlarges Legislative Assembly to 32 members
1970 The first woman is elected to the Legislative Assembly, Jean Canfield
1974 Electoral Boundaries Committee
1988 Electoral Boundaries Act provides for periodic consideration of electoral boundaries
1991-1993 MacKinnon v. Government of PEI argues that vast imbalance in number of voters between Island constituencies violates Charter of Rights and Freedoms by denying “voter parity.” Judge Desroches finds for plaintiff
1993 Catherine Callbeck becomes Canada’s first female Premier elected to office
1994 Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission recommends 30 single-member ridings (10 in Prince County, 15 in Queens, and 5 in Kings)
1994 Private member’s bill introduced by Ross Young results in a 27-seat Legislature (9 seats in Prince County, 13 in Queens, and 5 in Kings)
1997 A second, fall sitting of the Legislature initiated
2003 Hon. Norman Carruthers chairs one-man commission on electoral reform; recommends a Mixed Member electoral system, featuring 21 members elected by plurality and 10 members elected from party lists
2004 Commission on PEI’s Electoral Future adjusts proposal to include 17 members elected by plurality and 10 elected from party lists
2004 Report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission re-draws riding boundaries
2005 Referendum on electoral reform: voter turnout of 33%; 64% opposed, 36% in favour
2006 Legislature’s Special Committee on Electoral Boundaries tables report urging community concerns be factored into electoral boundaries

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