POLITICS

Five things to know as voters in P.E.I. go to the polls in Monday's election

05/03/2015 03:00 EDT | Updated 05/03/2016 05:12 EDT
CHARLOTTETOWN - Five things you need to know about the Prince Edward Island election:

UNKNOWN QUANTITIES: This is the first provincial election campaign for the four party leaders. The province's politics have historically been dominated by the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. Wade MacLauchlan took over the leadership of the Liberals and became premier in February, the same month that Rob Lantz became Tory leader. This is also the first time Peter Bevan-Baker of the Greens and the NDP's Mike Redmond have led their parties in an election campaign.

HOLDING TO ACCOUNT: Past Liberal missteps on an immigrant investor program and a failed bid to become the country's Internet gambling regulator have raised questions about the party's accountability. The opposition parties accuse the Liberals of failing to be transparent about what happened and the Tories are promising a royal commission to look into the administration of the immigration program and the Internet gaming initiative that was abandoned by former premier Robert Ghiz's government more than two years ago. A three-year RCMP investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery involving the immigrant investor program was closed with no charges laid.

THE POWER OF INCUMBENCY: Regardless of which party wins, the 27-seat legislature will have a lot of new faces. There are eight ridings where the winners from the last election in 2011 are not seeking re-election, seven that were won by the Liberals. Many of those seven ridings were won by Liberal cabinet ministers.

TIGHT BATTLES: Ridings in P.E.I. are often won in close races because of the lower number of voters casting ballots in Canada's smallest province. In 2011, eight ridings were won by fewer than 200 votes, and four of those by fewer than 100 votes.

ECONOMIC FAULT LINES: Faced with an aging population and a lack of opportunity for young people, the economy has emerged as another big issue in the campaign. The Liberals says the province needs to find new trading partners to spur growth in its traditional farming and fishing industries as well as in new sectors, such as biosciences and aerospace. The Tories are promising a $50 million, five-year infrastructure program to improve roads, bridges and other public works to help stimulate job growth.