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Innovation Minister Allen Roach
The province’s job creation record was scrutinized today during question period when the Opposition Tories pointed to data released last month by Statistics Canada showing P.E.I. had the highest unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in the country.
In December 2013, 20 people in P.E.I. were unemployed for every one job vacancy, up from eight the previous year.
“Do you think the ratio of 20 to one is a sign of job creation?” Opposition Leader Steven Myers asked Innovation Minister Allen Roach.
In response, Roach produced a different set of data from Statistics Canada showing Prince Edward Island was third in employment growth in the country last year, behind Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Last year we had the highest number of people working full time ever in the history of the province,” he said.
Roach also pointed to the fact P.E.I. was one of the leaders in population growth in the country.
He blamed P.E.I.’s out migration numbers, which last year were the highest they’ve been in 30 years, on the federal government’s controversial employment insurance changes.
“The only thing that changed that had a direct effect on those numbers is the EI rules that the federal government has imposed on all Canadians across the country,” Roach said.
“This government is doing a great job of creating employment in Prince Edward Island, and if we didn’t have to constantly fight against the policies of the federal government, we’d be doing a lot better.”
“Shame on Tories,” Ghiz quipped, applauding his minister.
But Myers continued to point to the job vacancy ratio, questioning how Roach could be proud of his job creation numbers while looking at those statistics.
“He’s blaming EI for all of his problems, if you went out and created jobs, there would be jobs for people to apply to again, there wouldn’t be 20 people applying for each job because they’d have a job,” Myers said.