Liberal sweep in Trinity-Conception-Placentia
Three newcomers to join Crocker in House of Assembly
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.
Steve Crocker stands beside members of the band Cellar Door while thanking supporters at Brown’s Restaurant in Whiteway.
Sherry Gambin-Walsh walks among supporters on election night at the Royal Canadian Legion in Placentia.
Newly minted Liberal MHA Pam Parsons (centre) is embraced by members of her inner circle moments after being declared the winner Monday night.