P.E.I. campaign underway

With a visit to the lieutenant-governor Tuesday afternoon P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz made official what everybody already knew, there will be a provincial election Oct. 3.
P.E.I. Premier strides up the drive to the lieutenant-governor's residence minutes before calling the election. (John Jeffery/CBC)

With a visit to the lieutenant-governor Tuesday afternoon P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz made official what everybody already knew, there will be a provincial election Oct. 3.

Robert Ghiz addresses the media in front of the grand staircase in Fanningbank. (CBC)

This is the first election on P.E.I. to be held on a date previously determined by legislation.

After speaking with Lieut.-Gov Frank Lewis, Ghiz addressed the media in the foyer of Fanningbank. He said he had spoken to the other party leaders earlier in the day.

"We are all looking forward to a good debate over the coming weeks," he said.

The Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties have candidates declared in all 27 districts on the Island. The Green Party has candidates in 18 ridings, while the Island Party has three candidates so far.

The New Democrats haven't named any candidates, but said they hope to run in all ridings.

Ghiz said the Liberal Party intends to run on its record. He said the province had done well in the face of the global economic downturn, and that he was proud of his government's introduction of full-day kindergarten.

"There is a great deal more to be done," he said.

"Over the coming weeks the Liberal Party will outline a series of proposals designed to keep us on a path of economic and social progress."

Favourable poll

The latest poll put out by Corporate Research Associates suggests the Liberals are heading into this election with continued strong numbers. Support increased to 59 per cent among decided voters. That's up from 51 per cent in the spring.

Support for the Progressive Conservative Party dropped to 31 per cent from 35 per cent. The number of undecided voters or those who refuse to say, is significant, at 41 per cent. CRA polled 300 people across the P.E.I. between Aug. 10 and Aug. 28. The margin of error is +/- 5.7 per cent 95 times out of 100.

Ghiz said the CRA poll will not have an effect on how he campaigns.

"We're campaigning like we're five points down," he said.

"This is my third election campaign. I only know how to go out there and try my hardest."

Returning officers prepare

Elections P.E.I. officials will begin going door to door over the next week double checking the names on the voters' list. There are 98,000 eligible voters.

Most returning officers have scheduled training sessions Tuesday for the required 291 pairs of confirmation officers.

"They have five days to complete their job going door to door," said Lowell Croken, chief electoral officer.

"That work should begin tomorrow. If the confirmation officers go to the door on at least two occasions at different times and no one is home, they leave a notification to call with the returning officer's phone number on it. It is the responsibility of the people at that household to call that number to have their names added to the list of electors."

Advance polls are scheduled for three full days — Sept. 24, Sept. 26 and Sept 30, from 9 a.m. to 7p.m. Students off-Island can get a mail-in ballot.

The P.E.I. Family Party, which describes itself as a pro-life, pro-family party, won't be taking part in this year's provincial election. Officials said that while the party had enough signatures to gain official status, members decided the party wasn't organizationally or financially ready to campaign. The party said it take four years to prepare for the next provincial election.