Campaign Trail

Back to the Big Land

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | 05:44 AM ET

CBC Television's Chris O'Neill-Yates, travelling with the PC campaign, filed these notes last evening:


Since very early in the campaign it has been very evident that the four seats in Labrador would be ones to watch. Three in particular, Torngat Mountains, Lake Melville and Labrador West, seem to have full-out races in progress. In Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, where Liberal Yvonne Jones has had huge support ever since she was elected as an independent in 1996, even the Tories are aware that Jones will be extremely difficult to beat.

Monday began with a ride on the private jet to Stephenville where Williams and west coast candidates gave a press conference highlighting the Blue Book promises on education. Talking to students there the major proccupation is - you guessed it - student debt. After that a quick bus drive to Corner Brook to file our story for Here & Now. Then it was off again on the jet to Blanc Sablon and on to a rally at the Northern Lights in L'Anse au Clair.

When we pulled up in the parking lot there was a bunch of pre-teen kids on the balcony waving Tory signs. They broke into loud sqeals and chanted "Danny, Danny" as the premier made his way into a room of about 150 people (I am useless at counting heads but among those I spoke with estimates ran from 120 to 150). The premier's stump speeches have been pretty tame and scripted up to now, but Monday night he launched into as partisan and spirited an address as he's given on this campaign.

Williams quashed rumours - which are rampant in the district - that Liberal Yvonne Jones is eyeing a move to the PC side of the House of Assembly should she beat PC Dennis Normore. Williams said if Jones does win and try to cross the floor, he'll send her right back where she came from.

We left L'Anse au Clair after the rally and an hour and a half later it was wheels down in Labrador City. A late night of viewing tape and script writing ensued until the small hours.


The morning wake up call came oh too soon and the media tagged along as Williams and Labrador West PC candidate Jim Baker (above, left) greeted workers at the IOC operation when the shift changed at 6:45.

Baker is in for a bit of a fight in Labrador West. That's evident by the fact that Williams has been in the district twice in as many weeks. The Labrador party pulled its candidate and is backing the NDP candidate, Darrel Brenton, the town's mayor. In the byelection six months ago, the Labrador party polled more votes than Baker won by. It is Labrador West where history has shown that anything can happen.

I will end on a note that has nothong to do with the election campaign. I am in a Twin Otter on the way to Rigolet and I am awestruck and humbled by the magnificence of what I see unfold below me. The vast spendour of Labrador from this plane on a gorgeous sunny day is absolutely captivating. I am signing off this missive to catch my breath and soak up the beauty of Labrador.

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