CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island's Green party has suspended campaigning for Tuesday's provincial election, citing the sudden death of one of its candidates.
The party confirmed Saturday that Josh Underhay and his young son died in a canoeing accident on Friday afternoon.
Green party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker issued a statement saying he was bereft when he learned of their deaths.
"Josh has been a dear friend and colleague of mine for many years, as a volunteer, musician, passionate cycling advocate and Green party supporter," Bevan-Baker said.
"He has touched the lives of everyone who knew him, including the students he taught, fellow musicians and members of the party ... Josh brought humour, enthusiasm and boundless energy to every situation."
Bevan-Baker said the Greens would suspend all election-related activities for the remainder of the campaign.
The province's three other major parties suspended all campaign events scheduled for Saturday.
The RCMP issued a statement Saturday saying two canoeists were reported missing Friday after they failed to show up at an agreed pick-up point along the Hillsborough River, which cuts through the middle of the Island and empties into the Northumberland Strait near Charlottetown.
Firefighters, police and a volunteer ground search team were called in to look for the pair.
Police would not identify the victims, but a Green party official confirmed Underhay and his son were later found in the water near their capsized canoe.
Though they were wearing flotation devices, both were declared dead at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, police said.
Police asked for the public's help as they continued their investigation, saying they'd like to hear from anyone who saw a red canoe on the Hillsborough River on Friday afternoon.
Underhay, a married father of two boys, had been the Greens' candidate in District 9, Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park.
According to a profile on the party's website, he was a teacher at Birchwood Intermediate School in Charlottetown, as well as an experienced musician and a student of languages, speaking English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Czech.
"I simply cannot imagine how much (Underhay) will be missed," Bevan-Baker said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and I know we will all join together to provide each other with support and comfort during this terrible time."