Door-knocking, policy announcement mark Day 1 of election campaign
Liberals stick to St. John's area as Crosbie visits Tory stronghold in Ferryland
Handshaking, door-knocking and political policy kicked off the first day of Newfoundland and Labrador's 2019 election campaign.
Morning drivers heading to work Thursday saw a swath of red at a busy intersection in St. John's on Thursday as the Liberals focused their efforts in PC Leader Ches Crosbie's district.
The PCs, meanwhile, are beginning their bid with a policy announcement outside Canopy Growth, related to regulations surrounding numbered companies this afternoon.
And Alison Coffin, leader of the NDP, was officially named the candidate for St. John's East-Quidi Vidi, where she hopes to grab the reins from longtime New Democrat Lorraine Michael, who decided this year to step aside.
The Liberals targeted the district of Windsor Lake first, introducing Bob Osborne — a rookie candidate and brother of veteran politician Tom Osborne.
He'll face incumbent Crosbie, who took 43 per cent of the vote in a byelection last September for a formerly Liberal seat.
Ball's had a tumultuous year, with two cabinet ministers ousted from the Liberal caucus and his leadership being challenged.
Call to ACTION! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nlpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nlpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/workingtogetherforchange?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#workingtogetherforchange</a> <a href="https://t.co/HGbT8Igjux">https://t.co/HGbT8Igjux</a> <a href="https://t.co/U9ipYFIbCV">pic.twitter.com/U9ipYFIbCV</a>—@alliance_nl
Despite that, every Liberal MHA is seeking re-election.
"I've been saying for months that this team is now stronger than it's ever been. What we're seeing with people running for re-election is the example," Ball said.
"It's a much stronger team than we had in 2015."
Say hello to new faces
Sticking to the northeast Avalon, the Liberal bus travelled to Mount Pearl, where they showcased two new candidates — Hasan Hai and Nicole Kieley.
"I've been working in the community for a number of years. This is an opportunity to help more people," said Hai, known by many as the founder of MerB'ys and Project Kindness, which raise funds for charities.
Kieley, meanwhile, is returning to face Tory Jim Lester, who was victorious in a byelection in Mount Pearl North in 2017. The difference this time around is Kieley is running as a Liberal, not as a New Democrat.
"Right now, I'm just focusing on what was best for me and moving away from any sort of divisive politics," she told reporters.
Off to Ferryland ... and Costco
After the cannabis policy announcement, Crosbie and his team are travelling to Ferryland, where four people are vying for the PC nomination. Tory Keith Hutchings is not seeking re-election, opening up the door to new blood in a district that's been blue since the 1970s.
Other districts, however, do not have the same level of interest.
The PCs have not yet filled their slate, and Elections NL rules dictate candidates must be in place within eight days of the election call.
The NDP now has five candidates and the NL Alliance has four.
Ball, whose Liberals have 40 candidates ready, said it's the other parties' fault if they're not prepared.
"If they're not ready for a campaign, they're not ready to govern."
Out meeting residents of St. John’s Centre. First visit with two supporters: Brenda Flood and her dog, Belle. <a href="https://twitter.com/NLNDPCaucus?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NLNDPCaucus</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NLNDP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NLNDP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nlpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nlpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/j7mTtQB8rP">pic.twitter.com/j7mTtQB8rP</a>—@JimDinn
With the Easter weekend beginning, it's expected most candidates won't heavily campaign until next week.
But as with any road trip, Crosbie said, he is getting the bus prepared.
"We're going to Costco tonight to get some basic provisions, fruit, apples, bags of chips, whatever," Crosbie said in an interview with CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.
"I'm taking my mother to church, so there won't be actual campaigning going on, on those days," he said.
Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador will head to the polls May 16.
With files from Katie Breen and The St. John's Morning Show