Lisa Dempster takes Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair
Liberal candidate Lisa Dempster celebrates with her husband Gaius and daughter Natalie after she received more than 50 per cent of the vote Tuesday night in the Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair byelection. — Submitted Photo
Liberal candidate Lisa Dempster was jubilant on the phone moments after she was declared the winner of Tuesday’s byelection in the Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair district.
“I’ve got our Labrador MP here telling me I creamed ’em,” Dempster said cheerfully.
The Labrador MP is fellow Liberal Yvonne Jones who held the seat for 17 years. Dempster didn’t win the seat as decisively as Jones won it in the 2011 general election, but she comfortably received more than 50 per cent of the vote — several hundred votes more than her nearest rival.
Dempster got 54 per cent of the vote; New Democrat Jason Spingle received 33 per cent, and PC Party candidate Dennis Normore got 13 per cent.
The Cartwright-L’anse au Clair seat has been Liberal for virtually all of its history.
PC candidate Dennis Normore said he knew it was going to be a tought fight right from the beginning, because of the district’s history and because of the current political climate in the province.
“We’ve never elected a PC candidate since Confederation, 1949, in this district,” he said in an interview. “The government has had to make some difficult choices over the last year, and certainly over the last spring since we had this budget.”
In an emailed statement, Premier Kathy also obliquely referenced her government’s deeply unpopular budget this spring as one of the major factors in the byelection race.
“Some difficult decisions were made, and while these decisions were the best ones for the future of the province, we recognize that until people can see the full positive effect of these efforts, people will express their discontent,” Dunderdale said.
“Making the right decisions are not often the popular ones. However having the courage of your convictions and sticking with those decisions for the betterment of your people is the sign of a government with a vision.”
For Jason Spingle, the New Democrat candidate, Tuesday night’s result was a moral victory; in the 2011 election his party got 44 votes in the district. This time around, Spingle got 703 votes.
“This is arguably the most Liberal district, historically,” Spingle said.
“We focused on the people, on the issues. It was a positive campaign. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Dempster said that her first priority is setting up her office in the district, and talking to communities about the issues they need to address. She said cuts in the spring budget mean that employment offices and other government service offices have been closed.
“People need a place to go, so my first priority will be to see how fast I can get someone hired and get them set up to help me.
“I will be out meeting with the towns as a priority to find out what their individual town issues are,” she said.