NL Election 2011, continued

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ghoris
NL Election 2011, continued

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Issues Pages: 
Sombrero Jack

Both St. John's Centre (Gerry Rogers) & St. John's East (George Murphy) are looking like NDP pick-ups. 

ghoris

Liberals elected in 3 seats (Cartwright-L'anse au Clair, Bay of Islands and Burgeo-La Poile), leading in 2 more (Torngat Mountains and St. Barbe), and hot on the heels of the Tories in Humber Valley, so they could conceivably get to 6.

The NDP is elected in Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi and St. John's North, has decent leads (400+ votes) in St. John's Centre and St. John's East, a 200-vote lead in The Straits-White Bay North, and a tiny lead of just 25 in Burin-Placentia West. I don't think they are close anywhere else.

The Liberals could yet finish better than the NDP in the seat count. Even a tie means they retain Official Opposition status. Looks like rural voters in Western Newfoundland and Labrador have saved the Liberals from electoral oblivion.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Some of the polls left are the advance polls, the NDP may not get those rural ridings. Its incredibly close.

Threads

The NDP lost Burin—Placentia West on the advance polls and special ballots.  Forty votes.

newfenian

ghoris wrote:

The Liberals could yet finish better than the NDP in the seat count. Even a tie means they retain Official Opposition status.

Well... maybe.

Threads

Liberals declared elected in St. Barbe.

ghoris

Mitchelmore is elected in The Straits-White Bay North by 200 votes. St. John's East called for the NDP.

The Liberals could still take Humber Valley - they are only 68 votes behind the Tories. Labrador West is the only other uncalled seat but the Tories have a healthy 600-vote lead with just 3 polls left so I'm not sure why it hasn't been called.

Looks like the final numbers (barring recounts) are 37 or 38 PC, 5 or 6 Lib, 5 NDP, depending on the outcome of Humber Valley.

Policywonk

Not quite so good as hoped, but 5 seats isn't too bad.

ghoris

The NDP has lost Burin-Placentia West by 40 votes. They should win The Straits-White Bay North - there is only one poll left to report and Mitchelmore has a 235-vote lead. St. John's East is not called but the NDP has a 500-vote lead with only 5 polls left to report.

Unless the Tories manage to retake the lead in St. Barbe, the Liberals will be the Official Opposition. Where there is a tie, the Speaker determines who will form the Official Opposition, but by convention the incumbent party remains the Official Opposition. I suppose the NDP could make the pitch that they beat the Liberals in the popular vote, but as we all know in a FPTP system that doesn't usually count for much.

ghoris

The NDP tripled its popular vote and quintupled its seat count from the last election, but still it's a bit disappointing to see the Liberals (likely) retain Official Opposition status when they appeared to be on the ropes. Then again, this is the one Province that still voted overwhelmingly for the federal Liberals in May, so I suppose we should not be too surprised at the outcome.

Stockholm

Listening to the commentary on CBC NL it is not at all clear who becomes the official opposition in case of a tie. The speaker will take various factors into consideration including POPULAR VOTE.

Howard

This is the best result in NL NDP history. More importantly some of the new MHAs sound like strong reps. Frankly this is a great result to build on. If the NL NDP can hold its ground/prove its mettle in the next session, this campaign has shown how high the ceiling has become (the 33% support and 45% of second choices poll that came out this election was astounding...but the party has to lay solid foundations across the ridings to capture that support).

Threads

The Liberals won Humber Valley.

Hunky_Monkey

Now, 37 PC, 6 Lib, 5 NDP :(

ghoris

Stockholm wrote:

Listening to the commentary on CBC NL it is not at all clear who becomes the official opposition in case of a tie. The speaker will take various factors into consideration including POPULAR VOTE.

When the Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature was called on to address the issue in the 1990s, the Speaker reviewed the authorities and concluded that the key factor was incumbency, and that convention favoured the incumbent opposition following an election: 

Quote:

In this light, Speaker Dysart saw incumbency as the key factor in determining the official opposition party when parties are tied. This is first evident after a general election at the start of a new legislature. The official opposition party in the previous legislature, if it finds itself tied with another party as the second largest party, retains its position in the new legislature. The same convention holds between general elections. That is, during a legislature, if another party should achieve a tie in standing with the official opposition party, the latter retains its position. Incumbency again is the rule. Speaker Dysart found this to have been the case in previous Canadian examples and thereby ruled in favour of CoR retaining its official opposition status in New Brunswick.

...

The third factor, popular vote, has a democratic or populist appeal. But popular vote is limited at best to the start of a legislature following a general election and then only as a supplemental factor.

Source: Canadian Parliamentary Review.

So while the decision is still within the Speaker's discretion, precedent dictates that the Liberals remain the Official Opposition.

ghoris

And after posting all that, I see that it's all moot with the Liberals winning in Humber Valley.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Anyways, congrats to the NDP on their greatest victory in Newfoundland and Labrador!

Policywonk

Official party status requires 4 seats. I assume this is the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador history that two opposition parties have won at least 4 seats.

janfromthebruce

yes congrats fellow NDPers!

Stockholm

Our expectations have been so raised by some of the events of the past six months that we feel slightly disappointed by results that would have been considered good beyond belief just a few months ago. If you had told me in February that the NDP would get 23% in Ontario and go from 10 seats to 17 - I would have thought you were nuts. If you had told me two months ago that the Newfoundland NDP would quadruple its vote and go from one seat to five - i also would have thought you were nuts.

But, I think that these results show us that massive sweeps out of now ehere like the Orange Crush in Quebec happen once in a lifetime. The rest of the time you can never underestimate your opponents and you have to claw your way up one seat at a time. The Liberals are like cockroaches - you keep stepping on them over and over again and they still aren't quite dead - yet.

Hunky_Monkey

What sucks is that we got over 5% more of the vote than the Liberals but one less seat.

Howard

Hunky_Monkey wrote:
What sucks is that we got over 5% more of the vote than the Liberals but one less seat.

This shows the potential to grow. The NDP finished a credible 2nd in many ridings.

ghoris

Quote:
Official party status requires 4 seats. I assume this is the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador history that two opposition parties have won at least 4 seats.

I think that's right. IIRC, the best the NDP had done up to this point was 2 seats (1999 and 2003).

One particularly important aspect of tonight's result, in my view, is that while Liberal support was largely concentrated in rural Western Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador, they were pretty much decimated everywhere else and did particularly poorly in metro St. John's. I don't think they had more than maybe one or two second-place finishes on the entire Avalon peninsula.

While NDP support was largely centred in and around metro St. John's, they also did fairly well in some 'non-traditional' areas like The Straits-White Bay North and Burin-Placentia West. This suggests to me that when support for the Tories does eventually falter, the NDP may be better positioned to capture that defecting Tory support than the Liberals. In other words, the long term trends here probably favour the NDP, if they can keep the momentum.

Hunky_Monkey

Howard wrote:

This shows the potential to grow. The NDP finished a credible 2nd in many ridings.

Potential, yes. But it would have been huge for the NDP to have the status of offical opposition.

newfenian

There'll be quite a few by-elections coming up sooner than later for the NDP to compete in.

Any PCs who get shuffled out of cabinet, their resignations will be in 1-2 years.

That might include Clyde Jackman and Ross Wiseman.

Howard

Hunky_Monkey wrote:
Howard wrote:

This shows the potential to grow. The NDP finished a credible 2nd in many ridings.

Potential, yes. But it would have been huge for the NDP to have the status of offical opposition.

True Frown

If the NL NDP makes a few changes, and prepares well enough, maybe next time. As it stands, this is a big boost for the NL NDP's credibility. 5 MHAs vs. 1 is night and day...just ask the Alberta NDP.

VW61 VW61's picture

I think I need to puke.

ghoris

Newfoundland may have bucked the trend of moving towards a polarized Tory-NDP spectrum, but meanwhile in Yukon the NDP is on track to go from 1 seat to Official Opposition status, while the Liberals have lost their leader and will be lucky to escape with two seats.

Wilf Day

Vote share:

PC 56.09%

NDP 24.64%

Lib 19.07%.

Four MLAS from St. John's and an interesting fellow from the northern tip of Newfoundland: Christopher Mitchelmore, employed by Community Business Development Corporation Nortip, an advocate for Rural Community Economic and Business Development.

newfenian

I'm surprised to see the disappointment and seat-centric analysis here.

The NDP placed 2nd in the province. Meaning: more voters chose the NDP than the Liberals.

A difference of about 250 votes (combined) allowed the Liberals to snatch Torngat Mountains, St. Barbe and Humber Valley from the PCs.

A difference of a little over 300 votes (combined) prevented the NDP from getting St. John's West and Burin-Placentia West.

Plus, and in confirmation of the regional polling data from CRA and Environics, each party seems to increasingly have strongholds in each of three regions: the Liberals in the West + Labrador; the PCs in the East and rural Avalon; and the NDP in urban Newfoundland, especially St. John's.

This regionalization of the vote, and the existence of a three-party system, is not terribly different from what exists in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Aristotleded24

ghoris wrote:
Newfoundland may have bucked the trend of moving towards a polarized Tory-NDP spectrum, but meanwhile in Yukon the NDP is on track to go from 1 seat to Official Opposition status, while the Liberals have lost their leader and will be lucky to escape with two seats.

Technically the NDP was second in the popular vote, so it's not a huge victory for the Liberals.

That said, I think that polarization will eventually come to Newfoundland and Labrador. This is an historic high for the NDP, and they nearly took other seats as well. I would imagine they are well positioned to move forward, especially if the federal NDP rises while the federal Liberals continue to tank.

lil.Tommy

I think the advantage will be to the NDP in the House, they Liberals lost their leader so again have to find a new one in less than a year, they are largely a western NFLD and Labrador based party with very little room to grow. The NDP has its leader in the House which as we see federally gets you more news coverage.

Some local indicators; in Labrador West, the NDP candidate was new to the area so i hear (Newfoundlanders can help correct me) and if the membership had selected a more local candidate things might have gone differently, as you can see in Lake Melville where the NDP did better. So Western Labrador is PC/NDP battle while the Eastern side is PC/LIB battle (i think much of that is Yvonne Jones herself)

Will there be a recount in Burin-Placentia West? Cause if i were the NDP i'd want one. If it falls into the NDP camp then there would be a tie in seats.

the Liberal vote in St. John's CRASHED! Their best showing was St John's West at 19% (cost us that riding!)... but that was an outlier, in some ridings they only got 2%...

Caissa

Recent provincial results make it quite clear that the only Orange Crush in 2011 was in Quebec.

lil.Tommy

Meh, we've seen more of an Orange Wave... historic gains in NFLD, big wins in ON and YK, and a historic fourth term in MAN... thats nothing to look down on. I think most NewDemocrats are pretty happy so far in 2011 with the parties performance.

The Liberals had a mixed bag... BIG losses in the YK, almost obliteration in MAN; but held on to gov't in ON barely, and came back from the dead in NFLD but lost another leader. The tories too can look at this as a mixed bag... losing two campaigns they were suppose to win in MAN and ON, but held on to gov't in NFLD and YK but now face stronger oppositions.

SASK being next is expected to be a disaster, but as these last elections taught us, one can't call things just yet.

Debater

lil.Tommy wrote:

The Liberals had a mixed bag... BIG losses in the YK, almost obliteration in MAN; but held on to gov't in ON barely, and came back from the dead in NFLD but lost another leader. The tories too can look at this as a mixed bag... losing two campaigns they were suppose to win in MAN and ON, but held on to gov't in NFLD and YK but now face stronger oppositions.

Winning 53 seats and being one away from a majority is barely hanging on to government?

lil.Tommy

A minority is still a minority, or a major-minority or whatever the rediculous statement was. Dalton is grossely arrogant... and yes i said it was a mixed bag, the ON election was nothing but a success for the Liberals... but a muted one since they now have to a) play nice with the opposition, which is not looking so hot at the moment or b) steal an MPP from the opposition.

 

Stockholm

Close only counts in horse shoes. It doesn't matter whether you are 10 seats short of a majority or one seat short - its stil a MINORITY. the fact is that if McGuinty does anything really scandalous - the opposition parties can dump him.

Wilf Day

When Harper had momentum after the 2006 election and after the 2008 election, he could threaten to call everything a confidence issue and force the Liberals to abstain.

McGuinty has no momentum. If he threatened to make every bill a confidence issue, he would have no credibility and most media commentators would laugh.

He will have to come to Andrea Horwath or Tim Hudak to get bills passed.

Stockholm

There will also be many bills that will NOT be confidence bills that may or may not pass and also the opposition will have majorities on legislative committees and will be able to demand information and start to investigate things.

lil.Tommy

Oh yes, i almost forgot about the majority on committees, if anything thats a huge success for the NDP alone....

But with NFLD, maybe someone can explain how the Liberals managed to dominate on the Western coast? I give them credit for being very efficient with their vote.

 

Howard

I like how we're annoyed that the Liberals have one more seat rather than pleased that the Tories have one less. It shows how low the Liberals continue to sink in the esteem of NDP supporters. You're heading down a one-way road Debater, watch out for the dead-end!

newfenian

lil.Tommy wrote:

But with NFLD, maybe someone can explain how the Liberals managed to dominate on the Western coast? I give them credit for being very efficient with their vote.

It's not abnormal for the Liberals to do well in rural Newfoundland and on the West Coast and Labrador specifically. Historical voting patterns show that, but in this election, the Liberals - like the NDP in St. John's - drew on their strengths by targetting this region and abandoning others. Their platform and campaign was completely geared towards the fishery,  rural issues, and their particular slant on energy issues.

The 2007 election was an abberration of sorts, with the combo of Danny Williams' popularity and the Hebron announcement. This allowed the PCs to take seats such as those on the West Coast that otherwise Liberals would traditionally have won.

Of the 13 districts on the West Coast + Labrador, the Liberal wins tended to be fairly close (except Cartwright L'Anse Au Clair), and two were extremely so (St. Barbe + Humber Valley). PC wins were much more comfortable by contrast (Port Au Port, Humber West and Humber East were landslides). The NDP took one seat in the region (The Straits White Bay North).

If anyone is dominant on the West Coast, it's still the PCs. The PCs got half the vote in the region, whereas the Liberals got about one third there.

dacckon dacckon's picture
Island Red

A particularly odious dark corner of Newfoundland and Labrador politics may well get an airing over the coming weeks, as the NDP is challenging the validity of "special ballots" cast in the hotly-contested district of Burin-Placentia West. The NDP lost the district by 40 votes to the PC incumbent, but the result would have been reversed had the special ballots not been counted. This method of voting permits a person who will not be in the district on election day to apply for a ballot and to mail it in to the chief electoral office. So far, three non-residents - who voted in the district by special ballot in Burin-Placentia West - have been uncovered. It is assumed that numerous people who work in Alberta voted this way, and it is furthermore suspected that many of them actually have a residence in that province.

Ironically, several years ago the government did away with balloting in St. John's for students who wished to vote in their home districts, due to concerns over vote rigging. However, special ballots are still permitted, despite the possibilities for widespread abuse.

We shall wait to see what happens next.

NorthReport

Only Liberals will tell you, without batting an eye, that losing, is it 20 whatever, losing 25% of your seats, is some kind of a success story. LOL Laughing

Anyway Stockholm nailed it.

 

Debater wrote:

lil.Tommy wrote:

The Liberals had awith astraight face that losing 18 seats  mixed bag... BIG losses in the YK, almost obliteration in MAN; but held on to gov't in ON barely, and came back from the dead in NFLD but lost another leader. The tories too can look at this as a mixed bag... losing two campaigns they were suppose to win in MAN and ON, but held on to gov't in NFLD and YK but now face stronger oppositions.

Winning 53 seats and being one away from a majority is barely hanging on to government?

newfenian

Island Red wrote:

Ironically, several years ago the government did away with balloting in St. John's for students who wished to vote in their home districts, due to concerns over vote rigging. However, special ballots are still permitted, despite the possibilities for widespread abuse.

IR, do you have a source for this? I believe you, but I would like to look into this a bit further. It was my impression that the special ballot procedures for students in St. John's (although I assume it's not limited to St. John's) is still ongoing... and still a mess.

My recollection from the 2003 and 2007 elections is that party workers would be on campuses in St. John's, signing students up to vote by special ballot, and then either (a) never delivering the ballot - so the student is marked down in NL Election's records as having voted in their home district even though they HAVEN'T or (b) taking students' ballots and then.... who knows? Mailing the ballots off to the DRO for the district that they're from? Right. Maybe.

Does this procedure exist federally, or in other provinces?

IR, I believe that the issue in the Burin-Placentia West results is that these special ballots were cast by people who don't even live in Burin-Placentia West, and/or they are part of Newfoundland's bizarre new pre-writ voting process. Is that your sense as well?

For those of you from outside NL: there's a provision in the provincial Elections Act that was passed in 2006 as a result of a recommendation by then NL Elections CEO (and Liberal) Chuck Furey that allows voters to vote upto a month BEFORE the writ is even dropped. I am not sure of the details but I think this pre-writ ballot just allows voters to write in the name of a candidate (even before the candidate list is formalized and finalized) and/or the name of a political party -- even though at the time this amendment was passed it was common for at least one of NL's three recognized political parties to not have a full slate of candidates for all 48 districts.

Source for recount story: CBC

Island Red

newfenian wrote:

 

IR, do you have a source for this? I believe you, but I would like to look into this a bit further. It was my impression that the special ballot procedures for students in St. John's (although I assume it's not limited to St. John's) is still ongoing... and still a mess.

My recollection from the 2003 and 2007 elections is that party workers would be on campuses in St. John's, signing students up to vote by special ballot, and then either (a) never delivering the ballot - so the student is marked down in NL Election's records as having voted in their home district even though they HAVEN'T or (b) taking students' ballots and then.... who knows? Mailing the ballots off to the DRO for the district that they're from? Right. Maybe.

Does this procedure exist federally, or in other provinces?

IR, I believe that the issue in the Burin-Placentia West results is that these special ballots were cast by people who don't even live in Burin-Placentia West, and/or they are part of Newfoundland's bizarre new pre-writ voting process. Is that your sense as well?

For those of you from outside NL: there's a provision in the provincial Elections Act that was passed in 2006 as a result of a recommendation by then NL Elections CEO (and Liberal) Chuck Furey that allows voters to vote upto a month BEFORE the writ is even dropped. I am not sure of the details but I think this pre-writ ballot just allows voters to write in the name of a candidate (even before the candidate list is formalized and finalized) and/or the name of a political party -- even though at the time this amendment was passed it was common for at least one of NL's three recognized political parties to not have a full slate of candidates for all 48 districts.

Students can vote by special ballot, but the practice of placing ballot boxes at one of the post-secondary campuses has been discontinued. The substance of the challenge in Burin-Pacentia West is not completely clear, although it appears there are two main grounds for nulifying the election in that district due to concerns over special ballots. This includes:

1. The question of "ordinary residency", especially those who work (and live?) outside the district and / or the province.

2. Voting in retirement homes.

As for pre-writ voting, yes people could begin voting three weeks prior to the commencement of the election itself. This rule offers a huge advantage to incumbents, since opposition candidates are not allowed to directly solicit funds or officially spend any money prior to the official dropping of the writ. It is far from clear whether it would stand up to a court challenge, but whose going to spend money on this cause?

newfenian

The Newfoundland and Labrador Elections Act allows pre-writ voting (which I've since found out only exists in Newfoundland & Labrador and nowhere else in Canada) a full four weeks before the issuing of the elections writ. The problems with that are self-evident, including the effect it has on favouring incumbents that you pointed out IR.

And as a result of some amendments also made in 2007, the Elections Act now stipulates that:

Quote:
S. 86.4 (4):  A special ballot kit shall be distributed to an elector by an election official only.

S. 86.4 (5):  A special ballot kit shall be returned to the Chief Electoral Officer by the elector or an election official only.

S. 86.4 (6):  Where a voter requires assistance in the completion of his or her special ballot, that assistance shall be provided by an election official only.

I'm not sure about the setting-up of polling stations or ballot boxes on campus or whether or not that was done away with (I actually support that), but the problem of party workers on campus dispensing and collecting special ballots looks like it was probably outlawed in '07 with sections 86.4 (4-6) above. Which is good.

For anyone who wants to review Julie Mitchell's Supreme Court petition for a judicial recount, read it here.

Newfoundlander_...

I forgot to check back here after the election. Nothing was really surprise in the results. The NDP taking St. John's East was not expected by either the party or the PCs, though I had originally thought the party had a good shot. The PC candidate in SJE had actually been helping Shawn Skinner on the day of the election in St. John's South because it seemed like he would easily win, but in the end they were unable to get voters out. The Straits White Bay North was obviously suprising for everyone. Pundits were predicting a strong showing by the NDP but it was thought that they would just take away support from the Liberals and the PCs would take the seat, in the end a three way split ended up benefitting the NDP. The party not winning Burin Placentia West was not good for them because it almost seemed like a sure sure thing. As well the party losing support to both the Liberals and PCs in Labrador West was a bit of a blow and shows just how important candidates are.

Policywonk wrote:

Official party status requires 4 seats. I assume this is the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador history that two opposition parties have won at least 4 seats.

After Joey Smallwood was defeated in the 70's he came back witht the Liberal Reform Party and they managed to win four seats in one election, so this would be the second time that we had to parties holding official party status. 

 

newfenian wrote:

There'll be quite a few by-elections coming up sooner than later for the NDP to compete in.

Any PCs who get shuffled out of cabinet, their resignations will be in 1-2 years.

That might include Clyde Jackman and Ross Wiseman.

It won't matter once the Liberals become the Official Opposition they can't lose it, so they will be the Official Opposition for the next four years.

What will be interesting with the NDP going forward will be the leadership of the party. Lorraine Michael will likely resign over next couple of years and the party may have their first ever "real" leadership race, it will be interesting to see how this effects the party going forward. At the moment I think Dale Kirby would likely be the frontrunner for the next leader, while the man is quite smart he's a bit boring. I have noticed he's able to come up with good sound bites but he's not able to say them in a way whereby they stand out, if that makes any sense. Someone else who I think could possibly take a run at the leadership is MP Ryan Cleary, though I've heard a number of people say that they think he may not stick around in politics to long.

 

Robo

Newfoundlander_Labradorian wrote:

It won't matter once the Liberals become the Official Opposition they can't lose it, so they will be the Official Opposition for the next four years.

Where on earth does that idea come from?  If 5 of the 6 members of the Liberal caucus in the House of Assembly quit tomorrow, would anyone think that the lone member remaining would be Leader of the Official Opposition?  The Speaker almost certainly would not.

As seat counts change, official designations can change.  In a parliamentary democracy, the Speaker would be asked to rule on whether or not Facts A and B changing are enough to have him declare that the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly has changed -- and a ruiling would be made on those facts.  Nothing is automatically fixed in place for a day regardless of the facts, let alone for an entire term of government.  Stuff happens. 

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