On Point | Labrador byelection results and NAPE poll

Liberal Yvonne Jones was the winner of the Labrador byelection last week, ousting Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue.
This week's On Point discusses the results of the Labrador byelection and a new poll released by NAPE 17:23

Liberal Yvonne Jones was the clear winner of the Labrador byelection last week, ousting Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue.

Former PC MHA Shawn Skinner, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour Lana Payne, and Russell Wangersky with the Telegram in St. John's were featured guests on the On Point panel to discuss the results and implications of the byelection.

Skinner said Jones' victory came as no shock to him.

"No real surprise for me, I mean, Yvonne was the leader going in and she came out of it with a significant majority of the vote," Skinner said.

"I think I was a little bit surprised in some ways with Mr. Penashue's support — 30-plus per cent. I thought it might be a bit less, but other than that I think it went exactly as it was scripted to go," he added.

Wangersky said he was disappointed in how much support Penashue received in the byelection.

"To see that many people put, basically, ethics to one side and vote in favour of some perceived need of having someone in the cabinet — or I don't know what they voted for - but I found 3,000 votes in that area depressing," Wangersky said.

Payne said she has a more positive outlook on the results.

"Almost 70 per cent chose democracy over cynicism, because that's really what that election was about," Payne said.

According to Payne, Penashue's camp put out a hard campaign and had a big push behind their efforts, but it wasn't enough to convince people to vote for him again.

NAPE poll results

A survey commissioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees that was released last week suggested a low approval rating from the public over the PC budget released in late March.

In the poll, 84 per cent of people surveyed didn't think the government did proper study or consultation prior to the cuts, and 81 per cent said all of the cuts should be reviewed.

Skinner said the results of the poll are not surprising.

"I wouldn't expect anything other than that, to be perfectly honest with you, and I would suggest any other budget that you did a poll shortly thereafter you would find the same thing," Skinner said.

"People don't like cuts; nobody wants to see anybody lose their job, including the government that's in there," he added.

Skinner said information in the poll indicates that people are still happy with the economy and feel the economy is doing well overall.

Wangersky said the results of the NAPE poll were obvious.

"The budget hurt a lot of people, because of the nature of the civil service in this province, there is one degree of separation — everyone knows someone who got laid off," Wangersky said.

"The optics of any budget that has cuts in it are going to be big, bad government doing nasty things to the little people," he added.

According to Payne, the poll was simply solidifying what the public already knew.

"It really did show what a poor job the government has done explaining this budget — explaining why it was necessary," she said.

"Their job was to be able to explain why we had to do it, and they didn't," Payne added.

Skinner said he believes there was a lack of proper communication about the budget, which can be blamed for much of the confusion and upset over the budget.