Election campaign still unofficial, but gearing up
- Election Day is Oct. 11
- Writ will be issued Sept. 19
The official launch of Newfoundland and Labrador's election campaign is still almost three weeks away, even though the unofficial campaign is roaring away.
All three political leaders were in Bonavista on Tuesday as hometown hockey champion Michael Ryder appeared with the Stanley Cup.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale also appeared with Ryder at a media event in St. John's — which made news when the Cup tumbled off the small table where Ryder had placed it for viewing — and then accompanied Ryder by helicopter to Bonavista.
Asked if the campaign has started for her, Dunderdale replied, "Yes and no." She also suggested the governing Progressive Conservatives are matching what the Liberals and New Democrats are doing.
"It's hard to say that it hasn't, you know, when your other political parties are obviously very engaged," she said.
Voters go to the polls on Oct. 11, with fixed-date legislation also setting the date for the writ to be issued - and campaigns to start in earnest - on Sept. 19.
As the government, the PCs enjoy the power of incumbency - not to mention the apparatus of government. The Tories have come under fire for a long stream of spending announcements for such things as fire trucks, paving and recreation equipment. Many of the announcements had actually been revealed months earlier.
But the other parties have hardly been shy of election-style techniques. Soon after being appointed Liberal leader this month, Kevin Aylward started revealing new policy planks, from increased cellphone service in Labrador to taking over the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's that is facing federal cuts.
The NDP has been in full campaign swing for weeks, with full-time staff hired months in advance to capitalize on gains made in the federal election in May. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael has already been door-to-door in St. John's.
In Bonavista, though, the election played second fiddle to sports on Tuesday - at least officially.
"No politics today," Aylward said. "I'm just going to enjoy myself. I'm a Boston Bruins fan."
"I'm just here to let them know we're interested in them as a community," Michael said.