By the slimmest of margins, Liberal leader Dwight Ball is likely returning to power in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We say likely, because as the polls closed and the results were counted, the Liberals held 20 of the province’s 40 seats. The Progressive Conservatives held 15 seats, the New Democratic Party three seats, and two Independents (Eddie Joyce and Paul Lane, both former Liberal Members of the House of Assembly (MHA)).
Here are how the key cabinet ministers impacting infrastructure development fared in the election:
- Premier Dwight Ball – Re-elected in the riding of Humber-Gros Morne
- Minister of Transportation and Works Steve Crocker – Re-elected in Carbonear-Trinity Bay-de-Verde
- Minister of Health and Community Services Dr. John Haggie – Re-elected in the riding of Gander
- Minister of Education Al Hawkins – Defeated in the riding of Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchan
- Minister of Natural Resources Siobhan Coady – Re-elected in St. John’s West
Also elected were the leaders of both opposition parties: Ches Crosbie in Windsor Lake and NDP Leader Alison Coffin in St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi.
What the Results Mean for Infrastructure
Assuming that Ball is able to secure the majority plus one votes that he will need to pass his legislative agenda, or that the speaker comes from the pool of PC, NDP, and Independent elected officials, the Liberals will continue with its key priorities:
- Build a new mental health and addictions facility at Waterford Hospital; and
- Begin construction of the new acure care regional hospital in Corner Brook by the end of the year.
- Improve infrastructure at post-secondary institutions, including the 17 campuses of the College of the North Atlantic.
- Begin construction on a new correctional facility in St. John’s in 2022.
- Organizational change at Nalcor Energy, reducing duplication and finding efficiencies;
- A reduction Muskrat Falls Operating and Maintenance Costs by at least 15 per cent.
- Complete widening and hard surfacing work on the Trans-Labrador Highway;
- Explore options and feasibility for a roadway connecting the North Coast of Labrador; and
- Explore feasibility options for a fixed transportation link between Labrador and the Island of Newfoundland.
In the days ahead, Ball will have to work to find some allegiance among the 20 seats the Liberal party failed to win, perhaps by wooing former MHAs Joyce and Lane or finding some common ground with the NDPs. That will become absolutely necessary should one of Ball’s 19 MHAs be named as Speaker in the weeks ahead.