Big Land stays red

Jones ral­lies Labrador for the Lib­eral win

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - Bon­nie.learn­ing@tc.tc ty.dun­ham@tc.tc

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.”

‘Proud’

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.”

‘Not wor­ried’

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.”

PHOTO BY BON­NIE LEARN­ING/THE LABRADO­RIAN

PHOTO BY BON­NIE LEARN­ING/THE LABRADO­RIAN

Ed­ward Rud­kowski said de­spite his dis­ap­point­ment at not win­ning the Labrador rid­ing, he’s proud of his cam­paign.

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