It's almost official, as Dwight Ball narrows election window
Exact date TBA, but PC leader says 'bring it on'
Exactly when the Newfoundland and Labrador election will happen is still up in the air, but it will be before children are finished the school year.
Premier Dwight Ball said Friday voters will go the polls before June 27, which is the last day of school for students. He made the comments after reporters asked him at an event for the new Cow Head theatre.
"That's as much as I'm prepared to say right now. We've got a lot of work to be done, we got to get a budget, of course, there is some insurance work we have to get done," Ball said.
"I'm not focused on a date. I'm focused on what we're doing for the people of the province."
He said he didn't want the provincial election to conflict with the federal election.
The latter is scheduled to take place on or before Oct. 21, 2019, but could be called earlier.
The fixed date for N.L.'s election is the second Tuesday in October. For 2019, that would be Oct. 8.
The Liberals, PCs and NDP have all started assembling their candidates.
Bring it on: Ches Crosbie
Crosbie said he expects an election in the spring rather than the fall, and he elaborated on several reasons why Ball wants one sooner rather than later.
"What he knows is with every week that passes, every month that passes, the PC Party gets stronger and he gets weaker," he said Friday afternoon.
"Bring it on."
Another reason to pull the pin on an election? Ball could find himself in an unflattering light, according to Crosbie.
"He has got to testify in the first week of July and account for what he did with Nalcor and with Muskrat Falls after he came to power ... things like cosying up to [former Nalcor CEO] Ed Martin as soon as he got into power," Crosbie said.
As for his election platform, Crosbie said, "It's honest leadership, it's an affordable future and it's hope and optimism and jobs."
Alison Coffin, the NDP leader, said Ball is politically motivated for an early election.
"I expect they were trying to catch the opposition parties off guard ... we are reasonably well-prepared," she told CBC News on Friday afternoon.
Time is ticking on Atlantic Accord
One item of business Ball hopes to resolve before the election is finalizing a deal with Ottawa on the Atlantic Accord. The deadline is March 31, and PC Leader Ches Crosbie has mused that date will come and go without an agreement.
In recent weeks, Ball has said only that negotiations are ongoing, and it was the same message on Friday.
"Both the prime minister and I have been still committed to getting this completed by March 31, so we've been working extremely hard all this week," Ball said.
"We're still working on that deadline and certainly we will have some news on Monday (April 1) of next week."
- A previous version of this story implied the end of the school year was June 25. It is, in fact, June 27.Mar 29, 2019 1:57 PM NT
With files from Katie Breen