Big Land stays red
Jones rallies Labrador for the Liberal win
Liberal incumbent Yvonne Jones polled an overwhelming majority in Monday’s federal election, handily defeating her competitors — the NDP’s Edward Rudkowski and Conservative Peter Penashue — by thousands of votes early into the results.
Liberal incumbent Yvonne Jones got caught up in the red wave that swept across Atlantic Canada ‘— and most of Canada — in Monday’s federal election, as Justin Trudeau’s Liberals made up a majority government.
Jones took received 8,878 votes — a staggering 7,099 votes ahead of her closest competitor.
“As I watched the polls coming in from across Labrador, I felt a renewed energy, a renewed strength and a renewed spirit to work harder and harder every day for the people of Labrador,” said Jones, to a room full of cheering supporters at Hotel North 2 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Monday night.
“And then I watched this surge across Atlantic Canada. Let’s hope this is setting the trend for the rest of the country. To realize what we have known for a long time in Labrador and that is Justin Trudeau is ready to lead.”
Jones faced Edward Rudkowski of the NDP and former Conserva- tive Cabinet Minister Peter Penashue — whom Jones defeated in a 2013 by-election to win her seat in the first place.
“We need people who care about people, who care about the economy, who care about the environment, who care about the future and Justin Trudeau cares.”
Jones acknowledged her campaign team and dozens of volunteers who helped get her re-elected.
“Thank you so much, every single one of you, who stepped up in this campaign. What a fantastic group, what an energetic group. I know how hard you have worked, though the snow, through the rain — we did it, guys!”
Mark Urquhart was one of those volunteers and was ecstatic when Jones was declared the winner not even an hour after the polls closed.
“A good beginning of a red wave,” he said.
Urquhart said he has generally always been a Liberal supporter, and he liked their message in this campaign.
“The whole platform to me has been on open, transparent government. I think you've seen a lot of people — with the current Conservative government — wondering why everything is so closed.”
Clare Potvin was a big Liberal supporter this time around, which is pretty surprising considering the last time she voted Liberal — prior to Jones’s by-election just over two years ago — was for an iconic Canadian politician.
“The last time I voted Liberal, was when (Pierre) Trudeau — the father (of Justin Trudeau) was running,” she laughed.
Potvin said she’s voted NDP for the majority of her life, but switched as she felt the trend is towards the Liberals.
“I see movement for the youth and a strong vision — maybe its time for the young people.”
Potvin said she feels Trudeau personifies the youth movement in politics.
“I really was happy by the way he didn’t go into the hate campaigns. He had so much integrity; he really impressed me.”
At NDP headquarters on Monday night in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, there was a somber atmosphere as Jones’s votes continued to add up, with no hopes of catching up.
Rudkowski said he didn’t think his supporters were shocked.
“Obviously we were hoping for better results, and people are acting like they should when they don’t get the results they hoped for,” he said.
As the Canada started going red early into the vote counting, there may have been little Rudkowski could have improved on with his campaign efforts.
“Liberals have taken Atlantic Canada with some vehemence and Yvonne got caught up in the positive side, and we got caught up in the negative side of that wave.”
Rudkowski said he’s proud of his campaign and the many doorbells he was able to ring.
“Over all I was happy with the campaign I ran. Unfortunately the campaign —even in Labrador — ran within a national and regional context. Ultimately the national and regional context didn’t help us at all, and clearly we’ll need to look at the results today and see what we need to do differently.”
Penashue said although he’s disappointed with the riding’s decision he can accept it and hopes it was the right call.
“You have to remember Labrador is really relying on fed- eral dollars for support, from Inuit, Innu, Metis to 5-Wing Goose Bay, and all the infrastructure support we need in Labrador,” he said. “Hopefully Labrador has called it right but you never know.”
Penashue attributes his results in Labrador West to the interesting dynamics within Labrador.
“Lab West is very Newfoundland,” he said. “Lab West, I’ve always found in the elections I’ve been involved with, very much votes along the lines of Newfoundland. That seems to be the way and it is and it will probably be the next generation when Labrador can find its own way forward.”
Penashue said he’s not worried about what comes next.
“Life will take care of itself. We accept the decisions made by the people and hopefully they called it correct. If they did, great. Otherwise we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re so reliant on those federal dollars.”
Edward Rudkowski said despite his disappointment at not winning the Labrador riding, he’s proud of his campaign.