Victory for all 3 incumbent Independent MHAs in N.L. election
Perry Trimper, Eddie Joyce and Paul Lane win with comfortable margins
The three MHAs running for re-election as Independents will return to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, after decisive wins in their districts.
Most notably, perhaps, is the return of Perry Trimper, who will be staying on as the representative for Lake Melville despite a year of controversy that eventually saw him leave the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent in the fall.
According to results released by Elections Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday, Trimper received 1,143 votes in his district. He won over four opponents: Progressive Conservative candidate Shannon Tobin received 547 votes, Liberal Michelle Baikie received 306, New Democrat Amy Norman received 279, and Independent Andrew Abbass received 17 votes.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Trimper thanked his supporters for helping him "make some history" as the first Independent representative for his district.
"This was a really different campaign. It was all about grassroots. It was about building a list, starting from nothing going forward without the strategies of the parties," Trimper said in the video.
Trimper announced in a video on Facebook in November that he would be leaving the Liberal Party to seek re-election as an Independent candidate in the general election, despite a post two weeks prior suggesting that he would not run again.
That news came on the heels of a fallout with the Liberals, after Trimper came under fire for comments during an interview with CBC Radio's Labrador Morning, in which he said the homeless population in Happy Valley-Goose Bay were "choosing" a risky lifestyle.
His comments came in an interview in which he was asked about a video that showed a municipal enforcement officer in Happy Valley-Goose Bay throwing Joseph Tuglavina, a handcuffed homeless Inuk man, to the ground.
Trimper had previously been the subject of controversy, when in 2019 he apologized for, in a voicemail left for an Innu Nation staffer, also accidentally leaving comments that the staffer called "very racist."
Longtime MHA Joyce re-elected
Meanwhile, in Humber-Bay of Islands, Eddie Joyce has been re-elected as an independent with 2,988 votes, beating Liberal Stelman Flynn, who had 741 votes, and PC candidate Robert Marche, who had 444 votes.
Joyce is a longtime MHA for the region, and also a former Liberal.
He, however, along with former MHA Dale Kirby, was removed from the party caucus in 2018 amid allegations of bullying and harassment, when the Liberals were still under the leadership of former premier Dwight Ball.
Last year, Joyce filed a suit against four people, including Ball, for defamation over the handling of the harassment complaint that saw him turfed.
In a statement of claim filed at Supreme Court in Corner Brook, Joyce made a series of striking allegations against Ball, as well as Trimper in his role as former Liberal Speaker, MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh, and Bruce Chaulk, the commissioner of legislative standards who acts as the ethics watchdog for MHAs. Chaulk is also the province's chief electoral officer.
Paul Lane back in Mount Pearl-Southlands
Mount Pearl-Southlands has re-elected Paul Lane, also a former Liberal, who has sat as an independent MHA for several years.
Lane received 3,445 votes, according to Elections NL, beating Liberal Karla Hayward with 1,386 votes, PC candidate Cindy Grant with 797 votes, and NDP candidate Cara Krista Winsor with 152 votes.
In 2016, Lane learned in an email that he was removed from the Liberal Party after he said he could not support a deficit reduction levy introduced in that year's provincial budget.
Lane had previously sat in the legislature as a Progressive Conservative, but crossed the floor to join the Liberals in 2014 following a disagreement with then premier Kathy Dunderdale. He was re-elected as a Liberal in November 2015 and, after his departure from the Liberals in 2016, sat as an independent until his re-election in 2019.