Premier Dwight Ball will send the people of Topsail-Paradise to the polls on Jan. 24, 2019.
The writ of election will be dropped on Wednesday, meaning an election campaign will get its start just six days before Christmas Day.
Ball says the timing of the writ drop will let people celebrate the holidays, but get right down to work on the campaign trail.
“Campaigns take on a life of their own. I expect there’s a lot of chatter in the district,” he said.
The announcement came after the first campaign rally for Liberal candidate Patricia Hynes-Coates at the Paradise Double Ice Complex.
Hynes-Coates joins Progressive Conservative candidate Paul Dinn in the race for Topsail-Paradise. The New Democratic Party is expected to announce its candidate on Wednesday.
Hynes-Coates, the former president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, says she’s always wanted to make a run for public office, and now is the right time.
“To me, it was an obvious decision. It’s where I wanted to go, I knew this is something I wanted to do. I made that decision months ago,” said Hynes-Coates.
“Honestly, it was a natural fit: the perfect district, the perfect area.”
Hynes-Coates was born in Mount Pearl, but grew up in Paradise. She now resides in Conception Bay South with her family.
The byelection will mark the third since the Liberals took power in 2015. The previous two byelections were won by the PCs, with the most recent Windsor Lake byelection seeing a seat flip from Liberal to Tory after the election of PC Leader Ches Crosbie.
“This is a district that’s held now by the PC party. We would love to have a strong woman join our caucus,” Ball said.
“We need women in politics.”
This time, there was no major announcement from the premier to set the tone for the byelection. On Aug. 23, when Paul Antle launched his campaign, Ball announced the framework of a plan to address electricity rates in the province, which later materialized in a referral to the Public Utilities Board.
Ball says the move was not a change in tactics heading into a byelection the Liberals need to win.
“There’s no change in strategy. At the time, that was an issue that was facing the people of Windsor Lake and indeed facing the people of the province,” he said.
“If you remember, it was the leader of the Opposition who said it was an issue and I wanted to address it. This campaign will be very different.”