Nfld. & Labrador

With candidates still sought, campaigns underway across N.L.

Nomination deadline to run in the upcoming provincial election looms at 2 p.m. NT on April 25.

Nomination deadline looms at 2 p.m. NT on April 25

Michael Duffy, Liberal candidate in the district of Cape St. Francis, hosted a community cleanup of Middle Cove Beach as part of his campaigning on Monday. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The countdown to the May 16 general election is on, and politicians of all stripes across Newfoundland and Labrador are knocking on doors and shaking hands, as they vie for your vote.

On Monday, the Liberal campaign bus is en route to its stronghold in western Newfoundland, departing St. John's for leader Dwight Ball's home turf in Deer Lake.

Last week, Ball spent the first official day of the campaign in St. John's, hitting the road with Bob Osborne, who will be running in Windsor Lake against Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie.

Liberal candidate Michael Duffy campaigned Monday by hosting a cleanup on Middle Cove Beach, part of the Cape St. Francis district where he's running against PC incumbent Kevin Parsons. 

Ches Crosbie introduces some of the St. John's-region candidates for the Progressive Conservatives. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"We thought it was a good idea on today, Earth Day, to arrange a cleanup of our beach to draw some attention to Earth Day," said Duffy. 

"Earth Day is about protecting our environment, about finding strategies to end climate change, about ending plastic pollution and about protecting endangered species," he added, ahead of a 7 p.m. campaign launch party. 

'Bogus' the Tory word of the day

Crosbie, meanwhile, spent Monday introducing six St. John's-area Tory candidates — including his sister, Beth Crosbie — on the steps of Confederation Building.

"This place behind us here has been abused by the Liberal government, abused in a way that explains why my slogan is, 'Honest leadership.' We've seen anything but in the last three weeks," he said, citing the "bogus" Atlantic Accord deal.

Crosbie called the "bogus" budget a "propaganda puff piece," maintaining that it's a budget the Liberals don't intend to pass if they are re-elected.

Before heading out campaigning door-to-door with his St. John's candidates, Crosbie said he plans to take his show on the road.

"I fully intend to reach out to people in rural areas in Labrador, in all areas of the province, but I'm just being realistic, the polling shows this is where we have our strongest power, based on the Avalon," he said.

"People on the Avalon know me best, they've had a chance over my career as a lawyer to get to know me. When people outside the Avalon, outside St. John's, get to know me better, they will like me, appreciate me, respect me and want to embrace my policies as well."

Nominations days away

Meanwhile, with just a few days left, the New Democratic Party and the NL Alliance continue working to get candidates in place.

The deadline for nominations for all parties is April 25 at 2 p.m. NT.

Graydon Pelley, the head of newly-created NL Alliance, said his party has nine candidates in place, out of the 40 total districts.

"The early election has certainly thrown a curve ball to anyone that's wanting to be involved, thinking about being involved in this coming election," Pelley said Monday on the St. John's Morning Show.

Graydon Pelley is the leader of the NL Alliance. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

"We were hoping that we would have gotten more time to put more candidates in place. We thought that with the budget coming down that there would be more time after having debate on the budget, but you know what, it is what it is."

Pelley said the party's vetting committee is working on getting a few more names on the ballot.

"We are gonna work hard to get all of our candidates elected, we are gonna be talking to the candidates, talking to the people and letting them hear our message of change that is so desperately needed in the political system in Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.

"We are excited and we are proud to be on the ballot this election."

Pelley, a former president of the PC Party, said over the decades, party principles for the Liberals and Tories have become "rhetoric," but not for his party.

"For 70 years we've been electing Liberals or PCs and basically we have been seeing the same pattern within these parties," he said.

"The NL Alliance is a new entity, we are committed to starting the change that needs to happen and we are here for the long haul. This is not just something, if it doesn't work this time it's done."

'You never know'

Adding more candidates to the ballot is the task the NDP is facing, as well.

Leader Alison Coffin said realistically, it's unlikely a New Democratic government will happen this general election, but she's confident there will be at least five orange seats in the House of Assembly.

"You never know. I keep hearing people from all across the province saying, 'We are so frustrated with the governments that we've been having over the last number of years, we're frustrated with the situation we're in, we're frustrated with the lack of progress that we're seeing,'" she said.

Alison Coffin says she's committed to the New Democrats for the next 10 years. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

"They're saying, 'Please put someone good in our district, we want to vote New Democrat, so that is where I've been focusing my energies.'"

Coffin touted Labrador West as a district where she thinks they have a strong chance, in the form of young candidate Jordan Brown.

As of Monday morning, Coffin wasn't sure of the exact number of candidates the NDP had in place, adding she needed to get on the fundraising trail, having just won her party's candidate nomination just Thursday.

"Otherwise we're in the black and money is coming in," she said.

"I do have to check and see how much is there, but so far we're feeling pretty good about it."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show and Garrett Barry

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