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NDP Leader delivers impassioned speech on ‘historic’ Newfoundland and Labrador election


Unofficial results has Alison Coffin losing St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi, two NDP members elected to House of Assembly

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Shortly after the unofficial results of the 2021 Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election were announced, NDP president Kyle Rees introduced Leader Alison Coffin to a small crowd of cheering supporters and staffers in a conference room in the Alt Hotel in downtown St. John’s.

With NDP candidates on either side, Coffin gave an impassioned speech, beginning by calling the day a historic moment.

“It will serve as a resounding lesson in democracy,” she said. “It will be the dark day in our history telling us we must do better.”

While official results will be released on Tuesday, according to the unofficial results two NDP candidates were successful in their districts — Jordan Brown in Labrador West and Jim Dinn in St. John’s Centre. Both were incumbent candidates.


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“Our candidates have overcome astounding adversity,” Coffin said. “Our democratic sensibilities have been assailed. Amid a pandemic and a Newfoundland and Labrador winter, we have the lowest voter turnout ever. Thousands more are complaining about the vote. Thousands more again are feeling disenfranchised and there are already speculations about court challenges waiting on the steps of the Supreme Court.”

Throughout it all, New Democrats put their heart and soul into the campaign, Coffin said, before being drowned out by clapping.

“We ran on transparency and accountability to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” she said. “We stood strong and proud for fair wages, quality public sector jobs and public sector services. We stood for health-care workers and seniors and dental care and the right for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be able to live, work and raise a family in the place that they call home.”



After congratulating Dinn and Brown on their unofficial win, Coffin took aim at Premier Andrew Furey’s election call timing and the as-yet-to-be released economic recovery report, as several people in the room began shouting “shame!”

Coffin lost in the district of St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi by slightly over 50 votes to Liberal John Abbott, the unofficial results suggest. Abbott is a former Liberal leadership candidate.

“To the people of St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi, I have been honoured to serve you as an MHA,” Coffin said. “I have enjoyed every single minute of this experience. Every conversation and every smile will be remembered for years to come, quite fondly. For that, I am truly humbled by the opportunity.”

Coffin said many discussions will have to be had as for what this means for the leadership of the party.

“For now, I’m going to continue as leader as long as my party needs me to lead them,” she said.



As for the potential for legal challenges, Coffin again said a number of discussions are going to have to take place, before they will know for sure how they will proceed.

In an interview following Coffin’s speech, Dinn said he was relieved, but called the election call by Furey a travesty of the electoral process.

“Certainly, I can tell you there is an awful lot of frustration experienced by people,” he said, before describing the difficulties some constituents told him they have had with voting.

“I think for a lot of these people, they feel this is an illegitimate election, but that’s to be determined as we look at the remains of it, as it were,” he said.

Coffin has Dinn’s full support, until either Coffin or the party decides differently about who should be leader.

He prefers the constituency work and has no ambition to be leader, Dinn said.

Ches Crosbie, leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, lost his seat in Windsor Lake, as well.


Andrew Waterman is a reporter for The Telegram in St. John's.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman 


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