Lib­eral sweep in Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia

Three new­com­ers to join Crocker in House of As­sem­bly

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS, NI­CHOLAS MER- CER AND AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@CBN­com­pass.ca

The Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia area will be well rep­re­sented in the new Lib­eral gov­ern­ment.

All four dis­tricts in The Com­pass’ cov­er­age area voted Lib­eral on elec­tion night. Steve Crocker, Sherry Gam­bin-Walsh, Betty Pars­ley and Pam Par­sons will be among 31 Lib­eral mem­bers in the new provin­cial gov­ern­ment.

The re­sults proved to be his­toric. For com­mu­ni­ties in the dis­tricts of Har­bour Grace-Port de Grave, Har­bour Main and Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s, they’ll be rep­re­sented by fe­male MHAs for the first time ever.

Crocker is the lone in­cum­bent can­di­date from the area re­turn­ing to the House of As­sem­bly. For­mer Port de Grave PC Glenn Littlejohn lost to Par­sons four years af­ter he was first elected to serve as an MHA.

For Crocker, this cam­paign was his fourth in lit­tle over two years, fol­low­ing two nom­i­na­tion bat­tles and a by­elec­tion vic­tory last Novem­ber. He won his re- vamped dis­trict with 85 per cent sup­port.

“It was a great cam­paign,” the Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton na­tive told supporters in White­way on elec­tion night. “We took noth­ing for granted in this cam­paign. Early on, peo­ple said, ‘Oh, you got noth­ing to worry about. Do this. Don’t do that.’ I can as­sure you, we did noth­ing dif­fer­ent to­day and the last three weeks than stick to a plan … We had a plan 15 months ago, and we had a plan last month, and we stuck to the plan.”

Littlejohn, a for­mer mayor of Bay Roberts, be­lieves a gen­eral de­sire for change hurt his bid for re-elec­tion.

“I truly be­lieve peo­ple got caught up in the (Lib­eral) tide,” he said. “We got caught in the surge and there it is. I can hon­estly say I gave to the peo­ple of the dis­trict of Port de Grave 365, 24/7 … I did the best for ev­ery­one who walked through my door.”

Par­sons was cam­paign­ing in the dis­trict for al­most two years prior to last Mon­day’s elec­tion. The for­mer jour­nal­ist was emo­tional fol­low­ing her vic­tory as she shared hugs with fam­ily and her cam­paign team.

“It is all about the peo­ple and I am ab­so­lutely hon­oured to be their rep­re­sen­ta­tive and I look for­ward to work­ing with them and be­ing their voice,” she told The Com­pass on elec­tion night. “The prom­ise I’m making is that I will work hard, do the best I can and strongly rep­re­sent Har­bour Grace-Port de Grave.”

The race in Har­bour Main proved to be the clos­est of the four, with PC can­di­date Cur­tis Buckle hot on the heels of Pars­ley for most of the night. NDP can­di­date Ray Fla­herty also at­tracted a no­table amount of sup­port, which was oth­er­wise scarce for the party in Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia. Pars­ley’s 2,253 votes were 255 more than Buckle’s to­tal of 1,998, while Fla­herty at­tracted 1,381 votes.

“Ev­ery­body ran a really hard cam­paign,” Pars­ley said when speak­ing with The Com­pass last Thurs­day. “We’d be on a cer­tain road say in Clarke’s Beach, and I’d go up and the PC guy would be there. We’d be out in C.B.S. and I’d be com­ing off the road and say, ‘Oh my god, there they are again.’”

The now for­mer-mayor of Har­bour Main-Chapel’s CoveLake­view has a lengthy history with the Lib­er­als and looks for­ward to serv­ing her dis­trict.

“I’m ex­cited to be a part of the team, but I’m also ex­cited to go in there and work for the peo­ple of my dis­trict.”

In Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s, Gam­bin-Walsh fought off a chal­lenge from for­mer PC cab­i­net min­is­ter Judy Man­ning to earn her ticket to the House of As­sem­bly. Like Par­sons, her cam­paign started well be­fore the elec­tion call last month.

“Our cam­paign did not have a lot of money, we did not have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence,” the Pla­cen­tia na­tive said to supporters on elec­tion night. “But this is what hard work, pos­i­tive pol­i­tics and a good strong team can do.”

As a res­i­dent of the dis­trict, she in­tends to pro­mote a strong qual­ity of life for all res­i­dents.

“To­gether we will make this dis­trict a bet­ter place to live in,” she said.

The Lib­er­als will take power Dec. 14, with a 12-mem­ber cab­i­net set to be sworn in that same day. MHAs will be sworn in Dec. 18.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Steve Crocker stands be­side mem­bers of the band Cel­lar Door while thank­ing supporters at Brown’s Restau­rant in White­way.

MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

Sherry Gam­bin-Walsh walks among supporters on elec­tion night at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion in Pla­cen­tia.

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Newly minted Lib­eral MHA Pam Par­sons (cen­tre) is em­braced by mem­bers of her in­ner cir­cle mo­ments af­ter be­ing de­clared the win­ner Mon­day night.

Pars­ley

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