Sunday, September 18, 2011

Other provinces have elections too: PEI Edition

While The Only Province That Matters (props to whoever gets the reference) goes to vote on October 6th, and the province west of it goes to vote on October 4th, the tiny province way out east (but not that east) goes to vote on October 3rd.

Prince Edward Island's political scene is pretty easy to describe: Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and three other parties no one cares about. The other three are the Greens, the Island New Democrats, and the Island Party.

How much do they not matter? Well, of those three, only the Greens come anywhere close to nominating a full slate as the Liberals and PCs have, with 22 of 27 ridings filled.

The next is the Island New Democats, who have just 14 candidates. Yes, a provincial NDP party following their amazing second-place finish on May 2nd has less candidates than there are territorial seats in the Yukon.

In fact, they're nearly eclipsed by a minor party, as the Island Party has a total of 12 candidates.

Did I also mention that this is the only province in Canada where the NDP ended up fourth behind the Greens in the last election? And that there's a good possibility they could end up fifth this time around!?

You can see why I like PEI.

Anyways, this election is pretty simple, as far as elections go. PEI Premier Robert Ghiz (Liberal) is running for a second term against PC Leader Olive Crane. The Liberals held 24 of 27 seats on the Island, and the PCs held two, with one seat vacant. I may also mention that Olive Crane is the only incumbent PC member still running.

Current polls have the Liberals at about 55-60%, and the PCs somewhere mired in the low-to-high thirties.

I don't know the issues, though an Islander is welcome to explain them to me. I do know there's been a scandal or two (though is the latter a scandal, or just a funny coincidence in timing?) that could affect Ghiz's attempt at a sweep of the province, but since the debate was cancelled for silly reasons, I fail to see how Crane will capitalize on them. Maybe Islanders are just that close knit, but eh.

Anyways, if you're in PEI, get out and vote. I suggest a vote for Ghiz, because it's in the national interest. After all, we need PEI to have some sort of Liberal counterbalance to Mike Duffy.


  1. As a former PEIslander I can explain: PEI has no real "Liberal" or "Conservative" party. They have Team Red and Team Blue. Policy differences are not to be found. Voters elect one team until they feel it's time for a change, or, the current team is doing a bad job. If Islanders feel that Team Red's time is up, they will vote for Team Blue

    As for the smaller parties; the NDP has been on the out since '03. In the decade prior, there were some real left-wing voters due to some very right-wing policies from a provincial Liberal government. In particular, they asked all public sector workers to take an 8.5% pay cut, and CUPE (or the PEI equal of CUPE) agreed. Years later when the contracts came up again, they asked those same workers to take a raise at or below inflation. Needless to say, they expected their 8.5 back and decided to show this anger by voting NDP.

    As for the NDP having 14 seats, I note this is enough for a Majority Government, and while that seems silly, this is always how the PEI NDP treated things.

  2. Also, to note, back in 2003 when I ran provincially in PEI (I was an NDPer at the time) we had a province-wide blackout nearly the entire day with the power only coming back on at suppertime.

    Turnout was 83%

  3. Interesting, thanks for the info, Teddy.