May 15 set for Newfoundland and Labrador election, sources say
Writ is scheduled to drop less than 24 hours after province's budget was tabled
Liberal sources tell CBC News that the Newfoundland and Labrador election will take place on May 15, pushing a long-running informal campaign into high gear.
Voters have been anticipating an election call for weeks.
According to sources, Premier Dwight Ball will visit Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote Wednesday morning — less than 24 hours after Finance Minister Tom Osborne tabled the provincial budget — to set in motion the dropping of an election writ.
Ball has steadfastly refused to narrow down an election window, only stating it would happen before the end of June.
The election will fall this year on a Wednesday — never a traditional day for voters to cast ballots.
Even though Newfoundland and Labrador has fixed-date legislation that would put a vote after Thanksgiving in October, Ball has said he didn't want to interfere with a federal election, which is scheduled to take place on Oct. 21.
Also unusual about the particular timing of this election call is the fact that it begins shortly before the Easter long weekend.
But the House Of Assembly is closed next week, and if MHAs have to return to the Legislature on April 29, they would have to start debating the budget.
That would keep incumbent MHAs off the campaign trail, while challengers vying for their seats could be out and about trying win voters over.
Already in campaign mode?
The writing has been on the wall that an election call was going to happen sooner rather than later.
Ball had mentioned several loose ends he had hoped to tie up before the writ was dropped.
That included a new Atlantic Accord deal with Ottawa, announced with much fanfare at a hotel in St. John's at the beginning of April.
Last week alone, the Liberal government made a dizzying number of high-profile announcements that totalled over $339 million for everything from a promise to build a replacement for Her Majesty's Penitentiary, to immigration initiatives, to expanding the Holyrood Marine Base.
The announcement bonanza continued this week, with post-Muskrat Falls rate-mitigation measures and promised changes to ultimately lower car insurance rates, both of which were outlined on Monday.
Then, on Tuesday, Osborne tabled the budget in the House of Assembly, though key elements had been outlined in the spending announcements.
The ink on the budget may be dry by the time the pin is pulled on an election on Wednesday, but just barely.
With files from Stephanie Kinsella