Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Calls Election for Nov. 30

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Calls Election for Nov. 30

Article excerpt

Newfoundland and Labrador election Nov. 30

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservative leader began his government's campaign for re-election Thursday as Paul Davis tries to buck a trend that has seen the Liberals dominate Atlantic Canada's recent political history.

At his first campaign event, Davis acknowledged the party is facing a difficult task as it tries to win a fourth straight election.

"I can tell you all, and you all know it, it's not going to be easy. It's a tough journey. It's tough work. It's a lot of hard work that lies ahead of us," said Davis.

He framed the election as a campaign about leadership.

"I'm ready to lead our new team, our new faces, our new ideas and take this campaign directly to our bosses, right to their doorstep, the voters and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Davis, a former police officer.

The Conservative party has held power since 2003 but Davis has been premier for just over 13 months, becoming leader after the Tories abandoned an initial leadership contest a few months earlier when the only candidate running to replace former premier Kathy Dunderdale dropped out.

From popularity figures that were in the stratosphere when Danny Williams was leader, the Conservatives saw their support drop dramatically under Dunderdale, who decided to quit politics three weeks after blackouts in January 2014 left tens of thousands of residents without power. Dunderdale insisted the province was not in a crisis, the last in a series of miscues.

To make matters worse for the government, world oil prices have plummeted, dealing a blow to its once booming offshore energy sector, which accounts for one third of the provincial budget in 2013. An analysis by RBC pegs the cost of the oil price slump at $1.5 billion in lost revenue for the province in 2015-16.

If he wins the election, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball would join Liberal premiers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. He is also trying to ride a wave of support for the party that saw it win all 32 federal ridings in Atlantic Canada in last month's federal election.

The Liberal leader said in an interview Thursday that that while leadership is a factor for voters, he's hearing people express growing concern about the province's economy. …

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