Ex­pec­ta­tions high for Lit­tle­john

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Glenn Lit­tle­john is now busy clean­ing out two of­fices, and pre­par­ing to set­tle into a new one as the newly elected Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MHA for Port de Grave.

Lit­tle­john will re­sign soon as the mayor of Bay Roberts, a post he has held for six years, and will also step away from his job as a re­cre­ation and sport con­sul­tant with the Depart­ment of Tourism, Cul­ture and Re­cre­ation.

It’s a tran­si­tion he’s been wait­ing to make for four years, ever since he lost the 2007 elec­tion to Lib­eral Roland But­ler by 260 votes.

On Oct. 11, the day of the 2011 provin­cial gen­eral elec­tion, Lit­tle­john ac­com­plished what many felt was the in­evitable - lead­ing the PCs to vic­tory in a district that had been held by the Lib­er­als for the past quar­ter-cen­tury.

And this time it wasn’t even close, with Lit­tle­john win­ing by some 1,600 votes over his younger, less ex­pe­ri­enced Lib­eral op­po­nent. There was a feel­ing through­out the district that the tide had turned and vot­ers were ready to once again have a mem­ber on the govern­ment side of the House of Assem­bly.

But Lit­tle­john, still stung by how close he came four years ago, didn’t take any­thing for granted and headed a strong, high-oc­tane cam­paign with droves of vol­un­teers and what ap­pears to be plenty of fi­nan­cial back­ing.

Lit­tle­john gave vot­ers plenty of rea­sons to sup­port him, in­clud­ing his many years as a vol­un­teer, a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion, a pol­ished and en­dear­ing per­son­al­ity, and his ob­vi­ous en­thu­si­asm and com­mit­ment to the re­gion. And it didn’t hurt that he was car­ry­ing the colours of a party that has been warmly and whole­heart­edly em­braced by vot­ers in this prov­ince since 2003, when Danny Wil­liams led the PCs its first of three con­sec­u­tive ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ments. But now comes the hard part. Af­ter eight years in op­po­si­tion, there are plenty of ex­pec­ta­tions in Port de Grave, and Lit­tle­john will be judged closely on what he can de­liver over the next four years.

Res­i­dents of Port de Grave have watched with envy in re­cent months as money from the govern­ment trea­sury has flooded into the neigh­bour­ing district of Car­bon­earHar­bour Grace, a seat held by pow­er­ful cabi­net min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy. Govern­ment largesse has in­cluded, among other things, a new long-term care fa­cil­ity and school for Car­bon­ear, and a new arena for Har­bour Grace.

In his vic­tory speech, Lit­tle­john spoke of the need for an in­vest­ment in road in­fra­struc­ture, and that’s just one area of con­cern. There’s long been talk of the need for a new school in Bay Roberts, and the town is also look­ing for govern­ment fund­ing to con­struct a new aquatic cen­tre.

There’s lit­tle doubt that Lit­tle­john will work hard as an MHA, and his con­stituents are cer­tainly hope­ful his ef­forts will be re­warded.

Re­gard­less, they’ll get a chance to give their eval­u­a­tion when the next elec­tion rolls around in 2015.

Good luck, Glenn.

— Terry Roberts

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