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Letter: Predictions for a provincial election

Premier Dwight Ball.
Premier Dwight Ball. — SaltWire Network file photo

Are you ready to vote in a provincial general election in this province this fall?

Let’s examine the tea leaves for a moment and then decide for yourself if Premier Dwight Ball is seeking to capitalize now on a lead in the polls.

We need a reference point to start my hypothesis so let’s look back to May 25, 2018 when Ball called the media to his district to announce the sale of $5 salmon licences. The government could have easily sent out a press release to make this announcement, but to get the media exposure it desired, a showcase at a local business in the premier’s district would be more impactful.

Then, shortly after, another media call was put out a little down the road in Corner Brook, where Ball made yet another announcement regarding the new hospital for the western region. As he was flanked by MHAs from all over the west coast, we were told that we would have to wait for a future date when the winning  consortium to build would be announced. Again, no press release when media coverage of print, radio and TV garners more exposure.

What’s happened since then? Well, we have seen a number of joint federal/provincial funding announcements from skills training to water and sewer as the summer moved on. Look for a Liberal campaign brochure this fall in your mailbox with pictures from these events.

But why would Ball want to go to the electorate this fall a full year before he has to? Great question. Here’s why: political commentators are noting across the country that the Conservative brand is getting elected. Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford is the latest victor. Jason Kenney in Alberta is also expected to return the Conservative brand to power in 2019. (There isn’t a Liberal government in power west of Quebec.) Sandwiched between those two elections is the election in New Brunswick this Sept. 24th.

Ball has to be asking himself this question: do I go to the people in the fall of 2018 with a 10-point lead on the Conservatives or do I wait until 2019 when more Conservative governments will be in place across the country and the movement will not be towards electing Liberal governments?

Mainstreet Research’s poll on July 17, 2018 had the N.B. Liberals and the PCs both neck and neck just four months after the Liberals had a commanding 13-point lead. Mainstreet Research as of July 17, 2018 has the Liberals in N.L. at 45.8 per cent and the PCs at 35.6 per cent. What are the chances Ball does not want to squander a lead like Liberal Premier Brian Gallant in New Brunswick has done to a rookie PC leader there, too? If he gives up just five points to the Tories, it’s a tie as in New Brunswick.

On the federal scene there is an election in 2019. In 2015, when Justin Trudeau came to power, the federal election was before our provincial election. Should that order hold true in 2019 and Trudeau is defeated, before we would go to the polls provincially, it would be very difficult for Ball to “guarantee a win” as he has already promised at the Liberal convention earlier this year.

Ball has to be asking himself this question: do I go to the people in the fall of 2018 with a 10-point lead on the Conservatives or do I wait until 2019 when more Conservative governments will be in place across the country and the movement will not be towards electing Liberal governments?

The world of politics in its purest, simplest form is all about one thing only: winning.

I suspect Ball knows he can win now. Likewise, I suspect he is not so certain he can win a year from now as the political landscape changes all across the country, as previously mentioned. Just ask Premier Gallant of New Brunswick what a difference four months can make.

From a salmon licence announcement for $5, to a tour of the new multi-million-dollar Memorial University Core Science Building with the media in tow (still two years away from completion) all crescendoing announcements culminating in potential evidence that the election train has left the station.

The only thing missing is a Liberal campaign slogan: “Moving Forward Together.”

Bern Kenny

Corner Brook

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