Nfld. & Labrador·Election Notebook

Stormy weather could prove to be a tough test for candidates on the campaign trail

Not only might the weather get in the way of campaigning, it could hamper people from becoming candidates in the first place. Elections NL is urging people to get their nomination papers in early.

Elections NL is urging people to get their nomination papers in early



  • Elections NL urging candidates to get nomination papers in early
  • Female candidate numbers are up
  • Leaders continue to navigate province
  • NDP add 4 more

Ready, set, snow! 

Politicians and political hopefuls are off and running, splitting up into their respective districts, knocking on doors and meeting constituents on their turf in hopes of landing in the House of Assembly come February. 

Party leaders are getting their kilometres in, making their way throughout the province to reach as many voters as they can ahead of election day, Feb. 13. 

This is CBC N.L.'s Election Notebook, a collection of noteworthy news from the campaign trail that will be featured regularly until the election. Voters will choose who will oversee the province through the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the worst financial circumstances in provincial history.

Shovel weather

Eastern Newfoundland's first big snowfall of the season is on its way, expected to touch down Thursday. Parts of the island are bracing for 20 to 30 centimetres, possibly more along the Avalon Peninsula's easternmost points, including the St. John's area. 

The Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas are both under winter storm warnings, and gusts could reach up to 100 km/h.

The storm could play a significant role for candidates who have boots on the ground, as some could lose a precious day or two of face-to-face time with their prospective constituents.

With heavy snow incoming, things can get tough on candidates and voters. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Elections NL issued a media release Wednesday morning encouraging potential candidates to file their nomination papers as soon as possible, noting the blizzard conditions forecast for the Avalon Peninsula for Thursday and Friday, followed by a smaller weather system Saturday.

"This has the potential to cause travel delays, district office closures or delayed openings," reads the release, which also notes Saturday's nomination deadline is fixed in legislation and can't be changed.

"If candidates do not file their papers by 2 p.m. on Saturday with their district returning officer, they will not be nominated and their names will not appear on the election ballot."

A blizzard is already sweeping over Labrador's north coast with the entire region under a blizzard warning Wednesday.

Gender lines

As it stands, the Progressive Conservatives have a full slate of candidates ready to roll for the general election. The Liberals are one behind with 39 candidates vying for seats in the legislature. The NDP now has 28 candidates, while the NL Alliance has six. 

For the PCs, nine of their 40 candidates are women. The Liberals have nominated 14, the NDP has 17, and the NL Alliance has one. 

Deatra Walsh, a sociologist whose focus is gender in labour research, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show the numbers are "thrilling," based on conversations she's seeing online.

"Gender parity is always a goal we should be striving toward at all levels of government always. But not only gender parity; we have to strive toward greater representation across the diversity of the people of our communities as they really are," Walsh said. 

"For me, what's striking about what's unfolding here now, it's not about quantity. It's about quality of these candidates that are running, these women and what they're doing."

Listen to the full interview:

Walsh said having more woman at the political table is critical to turn around Newfoundland and Labrador's bleak future

NDP lose one, but add 4 more

The NDP lost a candidate in Corner Brook due to his lack of faith in party leader Alison Coffin and what he says is her lack of support for a PET scanner for the new hospital in the district.

Graham Downey-Sutton released a scathing video Tuesday evening outlining his concerns with Coffin and campaign director Mat Whynott.

"Her lack of an answer or coming out on the hospital and PET scanner was a deal-breaker for me, and I wasn't gonna put my name on the line for her when she couldn't put her name on the line for the people of Corner Brook and surrounding areas," he said. 

Coffin told CBC News she was surprised by Downey-Sutton's decision. 

NDP Leader Alison Coffin says she was surprised by Graham Downey-Sutton's comments. The party added four more candidates to its slate Wednesday. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

"I think you're hearing from one unhappy individual," she said.

"Certainly, we are supporting all our candidates. We do have a lovely slate of candidates and we do have a great deal of support for all of those candidates."

The party added four more candidates on Wednesday in Mount Pearl-SouthlandsConception Bay South, Placentia-St. Mary's and Torngat Mountains. 

Want to vote early? Get hopping

Given the pandemic, you should get moving if you want to use a special ballot. 

The deadline for applying for a mail-in ballot is Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.

You can also still apply for a special ballot that you can drop off at an Elections Newfoundland site. The deadline to apply for a special ballot is Saturday at 6 p.m. NT. 

The deadline to apply for a special ballot is Saturday at 6 p.m. (John Pike/CBC)

The deadline for Elections NL's district offices to receive a special ballot is Sunday at 4 p.m. You have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to deliver a special ballot to Elections NL's headquarters. 

Find out more here

Follow the leaders 

Here's where the major party leaders are expecting to be on Thursday, shovels notwithstanding:

NDP Leader Alison Coffin is taking her campaign to Labrador West, where the party's Jordan Brown is seeking a second term. (Labrador West is on colleague Terry Roberts's list of five must-watch districts.)

A Liberal road trip that began on the west coast comes to St. John's on Thursday. Party leader Andrew Furey will be on the trail in metro. 

PC Leader Ches Crosbie is taking the Tory campaign to the Burin Peninsula. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


  • A previous version of this story said the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot has already passed. In fact, the deadline is at 4 p.m. on Feb. 2.
    Jan 21, 2021 9:41 AM NT


Mike Moore


Mike Moore is a journalist who works with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

With files from The St. John's Morning Show


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