Labrador landslide for Jones

Derek Montague
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Liberal candidate takes almost half the vote Penashue finishes distant second

A supporter embraces Liberal Yvonne Jones after her victory speech. — Photo by Derek Montague/TC Media

Happy Valley-Goose Bay — The sound of cheers was almost deafening as Yvonne Jones walked into Tenders Lounge in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to join her supporters at the Liberal election party. The crowd had assembled as the first of the ballots were being counted across Labrador.

When the results started popping up on the big screen, Jones was ahead of Conservative Peter Penashue and New Democrat Harry Borlase. The crowd of supporters stared at the results as they came in throughout the night, cautiously optimistic that Jones was going to hold on to her widening lead.

When Jones appeared at Tenders to make her speech, it was the signal that everyone could start celebrating.

"When I was reflecting on this election win tonight, I was saying, 'I'm the first person in the country to beat the Harper government in a byelection,'" Jones said to raucous applause.

"The people of Labrador wanted change. Not necessarily a change in political party, but they want a change in how Labrador is being dealt with. They want representation that's going to put Labrador first, and I guarantee you, they got it tonight."

Jones and the Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue had a war of words during this campaign. The most notable incident happened during a live radio debate when Penashue accused Jones of "double-dipping" while she was MHA, and having her wages garnished to repay the taxpayers' money. Jones responded, during an interview with The Labradorian, by saying that she could sue Penashue for defamation if she chose to. But in the moments after her convincing victory in Labrador, that was all water under the bridge for Jones.

"Most people who know me, they know I'm very forgiving," said Jones. "If you're not forgiving in politics, you'll never survive in politics, and that has been my experience. I also believe that anyone who puts themselves out there in a political race, and opens themselves up to the public ... they do so for very strong reasons."

During her speech, Jones called for unity among all Labradorians, including those who didn't vote for her in this byelection. She went as far as to compliment Borlase and Penashue for their campaigns.

"My colleagues in this campaign, they were on that ballot because they, too, believe in Labrador," said Jones. "It was nice to see Harry Borlase come back home and run in this election, and I want to invite Harry and his family to stay in Labrador and be a part of what we're doing here."

"And to Peter Penashue: I remember Peter when he was a leader of the Innu and a strong leader ... and I hope, Peter, that you get that back. I hope, once again, that you will rise as a powerful and tremendous leader of the Innu people, and that will benefit all of Labrador."

Jones says she's due to start a week from Wednesday in Ottawa, and she has a long list of priorities to bring to the House of Commons.

"It didn't matter where you went in Labrador - it was challenge that many Labradorians were facing, and it ranged from transportation to housing issues to affordable living. All of these things were a factor and they really felt that no one was speaking up; nobody was championing their issues."

Jones later added that her Top 3 priorities are dealing with Labrador's housing crisis, jobs and transportation.

"These are the three particular issues that continue to surface in Labrador," says Jones.

Organizations: House of Commons

Geographic location: Labrador, Happy Valley, Goose Bay Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Petertwo
    May 15, 2013 - 05:30

    It was totally expected considering the hammering that Peter Penashue was getting through the press, a press monopoly owned by Quebec. Too bad there is no representative conservative press here to balance out the propaganda. While I am sure Yvonne Jones will be doing the best she can for Labrador she will only be doing so in that which suits the liberal leadership from Quebec, that's how the political engine works. With the recent sabotage at Muskrat Falls, and all the fear mongering, I am beginning to wonder if that will ever prove to be of benefit to this province? Maybe that's just my paranoia, then again if it looks like a duck, walks and squawks like a duck, the chances are it is a duck. Though as General George Patton was said to have commented in WW2 "Do not take counsel of your fears", so maybe not.

  • Fred from Brigus
    May 14, 2013 - 20:40

    Labrador should have supported a winning team not a bunch of losers. They get what they deserve.

  • Ben
    May 14, 2013 - 20:01

    Wonder if Todd Russell was there to help her celebrate? Oh yeah he was probably still pulling the knife out of his back? Watch out backbenchers...

  • KeithBram
    May 14, 2013 - 18:06

    @Gary: So you are in favour of corruption, blackmail and porkbarrel politics? That may work for a given region in the short term, but it hurts the nation long-term as it only encourages more such behaviour from whoever happens to be in power.

  • Randy
    May 14, 2013 - 17:35

    Landslides are now under 50% of the votes? Only at the official Liberal-gram

  • Terry Walsh
    May 14, 2013 - 13:20

    I can only reflect on peter's sour comment as that of a sore loser, Ms. Jones on her worst day will be a better representative than Peter Penashue. Peter maybe just maybe if y0u had played by the rules there would have not been an election, you sir ran a campaign on monies undeclared and then weren't man enough to admit it, instead blaming someone else. Your own actions and your inability to speak for yourself instead of sounding like a Harper puppet did not help your re-election along with you stating how you held back on funds for Newfoundland...sounds like a threat to me that now NL will suffer because you didn't receive the confidence of the voters.

  • Robin Reid
    May 14, 2013 - 08:43

    I think Labrador has lost out in this election. They decided to have just another voice in opposition-in a third party not even in the official opposition- instead of a voice at the cabinet table. Don't expect much gratitude from the government in the next two years at least. We can only hope Peter will soon be a Senator.

    • Teresa Porter
      May 14, 2013 - 14:08

      Think ahead. The conservatives will be demolished in the next election; crushed by the weight of their own corruption

  • Stuart Harvey
    May 14, 2013 - 07:41

    Once again, Newfoundland and Labrador leads by supporting Yvonne Jones in opposition to the Harper mis-government. The argument has been made that a Liberal cannot be effective for Labrador, but the last couple of years with a Conservative member didn't seem to do much for the region until an election was called and the usual "promises" began to be made by the Conservatives who were desperate not to lose the seat. Congratulations, Yvonne ... Long may your big jib draw!

    • Sarah
      May 14, 2013 - 09:09

      Congrats Yvonne! I think Labrador just got one of the best representatives they could every hope for. She is a sincere, hard working individual who will represent Newoundland and Labrador with pride.

    • Gary
      May 14, 2013 - 10:50

      Stuart, The only place Yvonne will lead is down the "garden path". She will be no good for Lab in a party with no say in the cabinet. She will have her "voice" stopped very quickly in the big boys cabinet. Say good by to 5 wing Goose bay !!!