Nfld. & Labrador

Ches Crosbie is not talking — neither is Dwight Ball. But this MHA is back to work

The day after a historic election, here's what some politicians are doing.

PC leader cancels media availability day after eyebrow-raising speech

Paul Lane returned to the Confederation Building on Friday ready to get back to work as the MHA for Mount Pearl-Southlands. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

It's 10:30 a.m. on Friday, less than a day after a victorious election, but Paul Lane isn't home celebrating.

"I have five files on my desk right now," said Lane, one of two unaffiliated candidates elected in the Newfoundland and Labrador 2019 election. 

In his office at Confederation Building, Lane scrolls through Facebook and answers messages from his constituents, who voted him in handily over the Tories and Liberals — two parties in which Lane was part of in the House of Assembly.

As rumours swirl over who the Liberals can gain following a minority government outcome, Lane wants one thing to remain clear: he won't be bought.

"I don't believe they elected me so that I could join back to the Liberal Party, or the PCs. They never elected me so that I could be the Speaker of the House," Lane said.

Lane said he intends on leveraging his Independent advantage in a minority government to have more rigorous debate on legislation and political issues.

As Lane gets to work, his constituency assistant Lucy Stoyles says this is why Lane beat his opponents without the backing of a political party.

"What this office is all about is the people you represent … and that's why I stood beside him."

Where's Ches?

The PC Party, which made gains with eight new members, is staying mum Friday after Leader Ches Crosbie made an eyebrow-raising speech to his supporters.

Never one to mince words, Crosbie took sharp aim at Liberal counterpart Dwight Ball, leaving many questioning his tact and grace following defeat.

Crosbie, who made his speech off the cuff, failed to thank his candidates, volunteers or voters, and would not concede to the Liberals. 

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Crosbie apologized for not offering congratulations and thanks.

"As Leader of the Opposition, I look forward to working with [Dwight Ball] to advance the interests of Newfoundland and Labrador, including his commitment to the vital interest of attaining budgetary balance and recovery by 2022-23."

In his speech, Crosbie extend a hand to "friends" in the New Democratic Party and Independents Lane and Eddie Joyce. 

Ches Crosbie speaks with members of the media at PC headquarters Thursday night in St. John's. (CBC)

There were promises for one-on-one interviews with media outlets following Crosbie's speech. But after one interview with NTV, Crosbie's team said he wouldn't do any more interviews until Friday.

A news conference scheduled for Friday morning was later pushed to 3 p.m. That availability was cancelled and will now take place 10 a.m. Monday — a holiday — to discuss a hydro energy policy.

And he's not the only leader who is taking a break Friday.

Premier Dwight Ball talks with reporters after voting in the provincial election at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Deer Lake on Thursday. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Ball is also not expected to speak with members of the media, after a disappointing showing in last night's election.

A more humble Ball spoke to supporters of co-operation as his government enters the House of Assembly with just 20 of the 40 seats.

NDP Leader Alison Coffin, however, is soaking up the success of a party that some predicted would be wiped out of the House of Assembly altogether in this election. Instead, they are expecting to return to the legislature with three. 

Coffin spent her morning doing media rounds.

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About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

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