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While there was speculation of an early election call due to Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote’s absence, Premier Dwight Ball says that’s not the case

Judy Foote was installed as the province’s 14th lieutenant-governor during a ceremony Thursday morning in the House of Assembly.
Judy Foote was installed as the province’s 14th lieutenant-governor during a ceremony Thursday morning in the House of Assembly. - Joe Gibbons
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

While the province expected an early election, speculation has swirled that the timing was to accommodate for the absence of Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

In order to call an election, the premier must visit the lieutenant-governor and ask for permission to dissolve parliament and begin the election campaign.

Ball did visit Government House on Wednesday afternoon and was granted permission by Foote.

A number of people contacted The Telegram to question whether the timing of the visit to Government House was the result of a coming vacation by Foote.

Ball says there’s no truth to the assertion.

“None whatsoever. What happened is, I wanted to get a number of things done on insurance, I wanted to ensure that our plan, that we had delivered on the things we said we would,” said Ball.

“Things like rate mitigation, which is critically important for the people of the province. I wanted to get the budget done. These are all critical things that we needed to do. It had nothing to do with the lieutenant-governor. Nothing at all.”

A spokesperson from Government House confirmed Foote will be out of the province for “a number of weeks,” but did not confirm whether a vacation is the reason for the absence.

More than that, there’s no reason for Ball to need Foote’s approval to dissolve the legislature.

When Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador Deborah Fry was sworn in to her post in September 2018, outgoing chief justice Derek Green noted that the duties of the lieutenant-governor fall to the chief justice in the lieutenant-governor’s absence.

“… She must administer and provide direction for the court and, as well, perform all the myriad other duties that come with the office: acting as administrator of the province when the lieutenant-governor is absent. …”

Therefore, in Foote’s absence, Ball could have gone to the chief justice of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court to ask for parliament to dissolve.

david.maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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