Newfoundland and Labrador heads to the polls

Dave Bartlett
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Heads to the polls

Today is election day in Newfoundland and Labrador and The Telegram is encouraging all eligible voters to get out and mark their X.

At the time of the election call, the Progressive Conservative Party held a huge majority in the House of Assembly, 43 of the 48 seats. The Liberals had four seats and the NDP one.

 

Select group of women

Premier Kathy Dunderdale hopes to be among a small group of women to be elected

as premier of a Canadian province, after taking over the job from former premier Danny Williams last December.

The governing Tories are trying to hold on to power after eight years and ran a safe campaign on the government’s  record of economic prosperity, buoyed by offshore oil revenues and renewed infrastructure spending.

Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward  — who only took over that party’s helm from a recuperating Yvonne Jones in August — ran on a platform centred on help for the fishery and rural parts of the province as well as the intention to scrap the government’s current plan to develop Muskrat Falls, the first phase of the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

Aylward has said the election amounts to a referendum on the project.

 

Aylward continues to hold out hope for a rebirth of his party which was decimated in the 2007 election, and reduced to three seats. The Liberals did win an extra seat — The Straits-White Bay North — in a byelection in Oct. 2009.

Had Yvonne Jones been well enough and remained at the reins of the Liberals, this election would have been the first in Canadian history where all party leaders, and potential premiers, were woman. 

The NDP have seen its star rise in the last year, with the party’s federal cousin forming the official opposition in Ottawa. The provincial NDP feel confident they can eclipse the Liberals this time around.

While the other leaders crisscrossed the province in buses, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael spent much of the campaign in the St. John’s area with day trips to the west coast, the Burin and Bonavista peninsulas, Labrador and, this weekend, to central Newfoundland.

One big factor on the outcome of today’s election will be how many people actually cast a ballot.

In the last provincial election, voter turn out was just over 60 per cent.

However, if advance polling numbers are any indication that could go up this time around.

In 2007, 7,553 people voted in advanced polls. But that number almost doubled in the 2011 advanced polls with 15,199 people voting ahead of election day.

Alex Marland teaches political science at Memorial University.

“A lot of people look at (voter turnout) as an indicator of the strength of democracy, the competition of choices, so as a measure it’s important,” he told The Telegram.

But he said the importance of voter turn out to political parties depends on if you are trying to hold on to power, or overthrow the existing government.

“The lower turn out is, the better it is for the Progressive Conservatives because it probably suggests that there’s not this groundswell of anger or frustration or desire for change,” said Marland.

He said voter turnout usually goes up if the outcome of the election is in doubt, competition for who people feel will form the government is fierce or if people feel how they votes will matter.

But that’s not always the case. Last week, Ontario held its provincial election which was considered to be too close to call, with a minority government likely.

However, voter turnout in Canada’s largest province hit an all-time low with fewer than 50 per cent of people casting ballots.

Polls will be open at 8 a.m. — 7:30 a.m. in parts of Labrador — and remain open for 12 hours.

 

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NDP, Progressive Conservatives

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • WTF
    October 11, 2011 - 14:15

    Same old drivel, nothing new in these comments.

  • Scott Free
    October 11, 2011 - 11:52

    My, my Maricarol Furlong....sorry, I don't mix my politics with religion...for that, might I suggest the Republican Party in the Sates.... and to DOCRON...have you been drinking the Tory elixer again...a have province? because King Danny said so???

  • Maurice E. Adams
    October 11, 2011 - 11:08

    YES, JOHN, refurbishing Holyrood would mean that Muskrat Falls will only cost 6 times (instead of 7) times as much as Holyrood. As Indiana Jones' father would say --- "Our situation has not improved".

  • John
    October 11, 2011 - 10:33

    Maurice, what about the money Holyrood will cost for its refurbishment - well into the hundreds of millionsof $$

  • Bill
    October 11, 2011 - 10:20

    Nalcor's analysis comparing Muscrat Falls with Holyrood assumes that oil will average $250 per barrel over the next thrity years. If the price averages just $20 per barrel less, Holyrood is the more viable project! Given the track record of the experts on predicting oil, I am not optimistic that the Muscrat Falls projects will prove anyting more than a big - possibly crippling - waste of money. Incidentally, there is A LOT of oil available at around $130 per barrel - enough to last for decades even with growth from developing nations! Most of it is in North America.

  • docron
    October 11, 2011 - 09:24

    Scott Free sounds to me as a sore loosing Liberal, if you put the NDP or the Liberals in charge of the provinces resources, the province will be bankrupt, we already know what the Liberals did to the province and that was put us in debt at a rate of one billion a year. Under the Conservatives the Province has become a have Province.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    October 11, 2011 - 08:56

    Nalcor's Muskrat Falls cash flow data shows that over the project's 50-year payoff period, Muskrat Falls will cost Newfoundland ratepayers approx. $35 BILLION. ++++++++ That's about $700 million per year, every year. ++++++++ In comparison, oil for Holyrood (which is going down in cost) cost an average of $92 million per year over the last 11 years. That makes Muskrat Falls more than 7 times more expensive than Holyrood. Also, on a per megawatt basis, Newfoundlanders will be paying about 10 times as much for its 330 megawatts of power than Nova Scotians. GREAT PROJECT !!!!!

  • Scott Free
    October 11, 2011 - 07:49

    Get ready for four more years of deceit, lies, corruption and cover-ups; trademarks of the recent Tory regimes. Just imagine adding to these past quotes from Kathy Dunderdale: on the recent Tory love-in during the Federal Election: "no, I wasn't cozying up to Harper"; on the monumental blunder of expropriating the Abitibi mill: "the polluter pays"; on the slaughter of Labrador caribou by the Quebec Innu: "they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law"; on drilling mud spills on the offshore: "no harm, it only floats to the bottom". Ah yes, and then there's the political patrongage appointments, porkbarrelling and ongoing Tory spin we'll get for four more years.....yawn.

    • Maricarol Furlong
      October 11, 2011 - 08:45

      My, my Scott. Your Liberal colors of red are showing. Try to be a little more Christian.

    • More like Brain free
      October 11, 2011 - 14:10

      Trademarks of the recent Tory regime? Are you a neophyte or just clueless. Pick up a history book, we've had these problems even before Joey. I can't believe that there are still people out there who think there's a difference between Liberal and PC. No wonder we're doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes.