Part of my pitch for my own election coverage this year was to do some regular blog postings, sharing some observations from each of the campaigns, fact-checking some claims and promises, and just trying to provide voters with a broader understanding of the parties, their platforms and some of the issues.

And if I see something strange or amusing, I'll be sure to share that too. 

Week one, which ended with the Capital Markets Technologies $25-million lawsuit against the government, kind of got away from me.

So, let's start with week two.

Reality check: job numbers

In week two of the campaign, the Liberals have decided to focus on job creation.

In the speech he gave on the night of the election call, Wade MacLauchlan told the crowd P.E.I. needs to do a better job talking up its successes. And he spoke about job numbers.

He said P.E.I. has added nearly 7,000 jobs in the past decade, 80 per cent of those full-time.

"That's a remarkable achievement," he said. "Well above the performance of our neighbouring provinces."

From 2005 to 2014, P.E.I. added 7,400 new jobs, including 6,500 full-time jobs and 900 part-time jobs. The average growth rate over that period was 1 per cent per year. Nationally, average growth was 1.1 per cent over the same period.

Now, that decade encompasses years under both Progressive Conservative and Liberal leadership on P.E.I.

Let's take a look at how jobs changed under similar time frames, with different administrations.

From 2000-2007, under Pat Binns, overall job growth was 8.9 per cent, averaging 1.3 per cent growth per year.

P.E.I. percentage job growth per year

Under Robert Ghiz from 2007-2014, overall growth was 8.2 per cent, averaging 1.2 per cent per year.

However, the regional context of the Ghiz years is dramatically different.

While from 2000 to 2007, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick enjoyed robust job growth similar to P.E.I., from 2007 to 2014 Nova Scotia saw virtually no job growth, while in New Brunswick the number of jobs fell by one per cent.

Job growth under the Ghiz years was more tumultuous. During the recession in 2009 the number of jobs actually fell. Then In 2010 and 2011, growth was well above the national average. Then a fall again in 2014 (the drop in 2014 was only 0.1 per cent).

P.E.I.'s superior job production numbers didn't help workers gain much ground in the area of wages, however.

From 2007 to 2014, average weekly earnings rose an average of 2.8 per cent a year. That's greater than the national average increase of 2.6 per cent, but at $774 per week in 2014, Islanders' average earnings were still the lowest in the country.

Five narrowest 2011 victories

We've come up with our list of what we think the six tightest races are likely to be in 2015 (you can find it here). Those six were whittled down from a much longer list.

So to refresh my memory on which races were squeakers last time, I ran through all the margins of victory. Here are the smallest:

  • District 4 Belfast Murray River, Charlie McGeoghegan (Lib) over Darlene Compton (PC) eight votes.
  • District 1 Souris-Elmira Colin Lavie (PC) over Allan Campbell (Lib) 30 votes.
  • District 27 Tignish-Palmer Road Hal Perry (PC) over Neil LeClair (Lib) 33 votes.
  • District 15 West Royalty-Springvale Bush Dumville (Lib) over Gary Bowness (PC) 63 votes.
  • District 19 Borden-Kinkora George Webster (Lib) over Jamie Fox (PC) 122 votes.

District 4 features a rematch of McGeoghegan and Compton this year. Challenger Jamie Fox in District 19 is running again with no incumbent in that race. He faces Ramona Roberts for the Liberals, Joseph Larkin for the NDP and Ranald MacFarlane for the Greens.

In District 27 Hal Perry, who crossed the floor since the last election, defeated Neil LeClair to win the Liberal nomination. So he's trying to hold onto the riding, but under a different party banner than he ran under in 2011. The PC candidate this time around is Joseph Profit. John A'Hearn is running for the NDP.

Number of female candidates

Here's what a clip from Rob Lantz looked like for Compass viewers on day one of the campaign:

Rob Lantz

Here's what a clip from Rob Lantz looks like on day seven of the campaign:

Rob Lantz

In the first case, candidates all filed into the room and took their places as the event was underway.

I can't say for certain, but I didn't see them lining up any spots for them to stand ahead of time.

In the second photo, candidates were carefully instructed beforehand where they should stand during the announcement.

With 5 women running and 22 men, the PCs have the lowest proportion of female candidates in this election so far. Overall the proportion of female candidates last election was 31 per cent, that was a record high. This year the number is 26 per cent to date. There are still a few days for the Greens and NDP to announce more candidates, or for independents to declare. 

And if you're wondering about the gender breakdown among candidates for each party so far:

Party # Candidates Women Men % Women
Green Party 15 5 10 33%
NDP 24 7 17 29%
Liberals 27 7 20 26%
PCs 27 5 22 19%
TOTAL 93 24 69 26%

The nomination deadline is this Friday at 2:00 pm.

I'm sure we'll talk more about the gender disparity among candidates in the coming days.

Corrections

  • This story previously said Shawn Driscoll ran in District 15 in 2011. It was Gary Bowness.
    Apr 15, 2015 7:40 AM AT