06/04/2014 11:55 EDT

Ouch, NDP: Ontario Job Growth By Governing Party

Lakehead University economics prof Livio Di Matteo has put out a very interesting graph breaking down job growth in Ontario by governing party, and, um, one of these things is not like the other:

Ouch, NDP. In this data set going back to the era of Bill Davis’ Progressive Conservatives in the 1970s, it’s Bob Rae’s NDP that stands out as the only government to preside over a decline in jobs. Ontario was down an average of 16,388 jobs per year by the time the NDP was routed in the 1995 election.

To be fair, this wasn’t entirely (or maybe even mostly) the NDP’s fault. They inherited a nasty recession that hit North America about the time they took power in 1990, and they also inherited a housing bubble bust that hit Toronto and kept growth down for years.

All the same, this does explain why so many (mostly older) Ontarians shiver when they think of “Rae Days.” This chart pretty much shows what Andrea Horwath and today’s NDP have to overcome: The perception that they are an economic crisis waiting to happen.

The best performance on the chart goes to Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservative government of the 1990s (up 133,167 jobs per year, on average). But, just as the NDP don’t deserve all the blame for the early 1990s, the PCs don’t deserve all the credit for the latter half of the decade. They can hardly be credited with the tech boom, soaring stock prices and housing market rebound that characterized that era.

Keep in mind that the lengths of time these governments served varied. If the NDP had had as long as Harris's PCs, their numbers may have looked very different.

And note, also, that the two large spikes in employment happened on the shifts of two different parties, Libs and PCs, as did the two periods of more sluggish growth.

What does that tell us? It tells us you can’t tell just by a party’s brand how many jobs will be created on their watch. Which, more than sketchy math, might be the real reason not to trust that million jobs plan.

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