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NL Election 2011 - page 2

NL Election 2011: The Final Week

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Newfoundland and Labrador is entering its final full week of its provincial election campaign, and VOCM is giving an update on where the leaders will be today. PC Leader Kathy Dunderdale will begin this week’s campaign in St. John’s with a visit to the Independent Living Resource Centre on Escasoni Place. She’s then heading off to the west coast where she will campaign with Wally Young in Rocky Harbour and Darryl Kelly in Deer Lake. Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward is focusing his energies today in St. George’s-Stephenville East where he’s hoping to win back the district he held for 18 years away from incumbent, Joan Burke. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is making an announcement this morning at 11 at her campaign office concerning the 2014 Health Accord. Michael will be joined by Megan Leslie, the NDP MP for Halifax. Stay tuned this week for TheIndependent.ca’s review of the three political…

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Aylward comes under fire for decisions made as MHA

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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward is on the defensive regarding his role in preventing the auditor general from reviewing constituency allowances; before retiring from provincial politics in 2003 he was one of seven politicians on the Commission of Internal Economy when it voted to prevent that from happening. Ultimately of course when the books were reviewed later in the decade, gross mis-spending was uncovered which saw four politicians sent to jail. But Aylward said all politicians in the late 1990s supported the move to exempt the legislature.”The collective house of assembly including Jack Harris, leader of the NDP, and Loyola Sullivan and the Tory caucus also went collectively with that decision,” said Aylward reports the CBC. “It’s regrettable what occurred … Since then the Green commission has put in place what’s required. But we had a systematic breakdown in our accounting system.” Source: CBC

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NDP’s oil surtax raising eyebrows nationally

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Lorraine Michael and her NDP are making national headlines this week not just for their historical chance at coming in second place for the first time – but for their idea of charging a new tax on oil companies. The NDP Leader plans to pay for about half of the $142 million needed for the party’s health and social spending platform by charging oil companies a three-per-cent surtax on offshore royalties. CTV reports that “she concedes that such a move could require rewriting offshore deals that were months or years in the making”. Michael said the party will seek a legal opinion on the matter. Asked why she did not do that before releasing her platform, she said the surtax is only an issue if she becomes premier. So the leaders only have to rationalize their platforms if they actually had a shot at becoming Premier? Source: CTV

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Man flip-flops on decision to run; Liberals short 1 candidate

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Phillip Mullins decided yesterday morning that he wanted to run for the Liberal party in Mount Pearl North. By the afternoon he had been approved by the party, and was the selected candidate, ready to go for the election in 2 weeks time. “I am officially the liberal candidate for Mt. Pearl North!” he tweeted. By dinner time, he had pulled out of the race. “After talking with my family and considering the personal and work commitments I have, I will be declining the nomination for Mt. Pearl [North].” That leaves the Liberal Party 1 candidate short of the full 48-riding slate, with just two days to go until registration closes. At this point, the Liberals will be searching for any name to put on the ballot; Mount Pearl North is strong PC territory and the party doesn’t realistically expect to have a chance there. Source: CBC

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Former Federal Environment Minister pushes Muskrat Falls

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“It is a transformational project for Atlantic Canada that will take the region and our country to a new level of industrial development,” said Jim Prentice, former high-profile Conservative and current senior executive vice-president of CIBC. “In my opinion, the federal government has done the right thing in supporting the development of the remaining hydropower potential of the Churchill River… and in the days ahead, the voters in Newfoundland and Labrador will have the opportunity to voice their opinion as well.” Prentice emphasized that he wasn’t trying to sway voters on the rock. “I’m here speaking on behalf of our bank and we are supportive of the project,” he told reporters. Source: The Chronicle Herald

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The debate over our finances

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The St. John’s Board of Trade held a debate last night on fiscal policy and the economic future of Newfoundland and Labrador. In attendance were Tom Marshall for the PCs, Danny Dumaresque for the PCs, and Lorraine Michael for the NDP. Dumaresque spent his time attacking the PCs on the Muskrat Falls deal: “There’s no way that we can go and build this kind of monster and have the responsibility of repaying it for the foreseeable revenues that we have. It’s just impossible.” Michael attacked the PCs on transparency: “$348 million passed over to Nalcor and we don’t get an accounting of how that $348 million [is spent], we have to take their word.” Marshall defended Nalcor and its Muskrat Falls project: “Hydro, once it gets going, will provide us with revenue as along as the river flows to the sea.” An interesting response from Dumaresque to a question regarding…

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The debate over Health Care

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“I think the minister is denying the fact that we do have a mess and when I say that it’s not my word people inside the health care system are continually saying to me: our health care system is a mess,” said NDP Lorraine Michael during yesterday’s debate on the health care system. Michael, who believes there are major problems with our system, is calling for a full independent review of it. Health Minister Jerome Kennedy says an independent review would inevitably lead to recommendations that rural services should be cut. “There was an external review done in 2004 and if we had followed the recommendations at that time then there would be no rural health care left,” said Kennedy. “I really don’t know why Ms. Michael believes a review today would be any different … They’ll try to streamline and create efficiencies,” he said. “I can predict that that’s…

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A call for the leaders to debate Muskrat Falls

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The Telegram is reporting that three men who have delved into the numbers on the Muskrat Falls project are calling for the provincial government and Nalcor Energy to reconsider alternatives and for provincial party leaders to have a debate solely on Lower Churchill development prior to the Oct. 11 election. Richard Cashin, the President of Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), Ed Hearn, a lawyer in Labrador City and a former director of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; and Dennis Browne, a lawyer in St. John’s and former Consumer Advocate for the Public Utilities Board, held held a news conference yesterday to make the call. For more information, click to link below to read the article at The Telegram. With the timing of the announcement, and those involved (Cashin was once a Liberal MP), one has to wonder what the political motives of the news conference were. Source: The Telegram

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It’s going to be tough for students to vote

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This year MUN’s midterm break falls on election day, which is forcing students to make alternative voting plans – or to rule out voting altogether. Paul Hussey from MUN’s student paper The MUSE talks with the Canadian Federation of Students NL to see what this means and what has been done to try and counteract the problem. “We’ve met with Elections NL a couple of times to talk about the importance of making sure students get out to vote,” said Jessica McCormick CFS-NL Chairperson. “And they’ve been reluctant to have any polling stations on campus, which is what we’ve been advocating for, especially with advanced polls.” Check out Paul’s article here. Online voting anybody?? Source: The MUSE

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Should crime be an election issue?

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As the Federal Conservatives are pushing through new “tough-on-crime” legislation at the national level, many people are left wondering “why?” The crime rate in Canada, afterall, is the lowest it has ever been in almost 30 years – and that rate has been in general decline during that same time. But here in Newfoundland and Labrador – on the northeast Avalon especially – crime is becoming more and more of a problem. While Stats Canada reports that nationally crime decreased by 4% in 2009, the total crime rate in St. John’s actually saw an increase of 4% – and our capital city now has the seventh-highest metropolitan crime index. With money comes prosperity, but it also brings nastier elements of society – that quite frankly us Newfoundlanders aren’t used to. Disappearing are the days where we can leave our car idling in front of the convenience store, leave our front…

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Liberals promote child care plan

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Speaking at Mes Amis Childcare Center Monday, Kevin Aylward pointed out that there are 60,000 children under twelve in the province, but fewer than 7,000 child care spaces. “Clearly there is a shortage of child care spaces in the province,” he said. “Our plan will increase these spaces by investing in early childhood educators.” The Liberal plan for child care includes increasing the early childhood education supplement from a maximum of $6,660 per year to $8,000 per year and creating new infant care spaces by providing a monthly supplement to licensed child care centres. The plan also includes the promise to invest in recruiting and retaining early childhood educators. Source: CBC

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The election – 4 years ago

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The Independent roots through its archives to present the political scene just 4 years ago – on the eve of the 2007 election.

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NDP leader pressed on plans to go after oil industry for more money

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“I think any agreement can be opened,” NDP Lorraine Michael said on CBC television over the weekend. Michael was responding to questions about her campaign promise to add a new 3% surtax on the Hebron partnership. Michael re-iterated that she was not afraid to throw out the Hebron contract to deliver on her promise. “I think we can ask for more money, and I intend to go after it.” Michael admitted that she is not sure how an NDP government would accomplish this, even though the Hebron agreement with the government specifically says the contract cannot be changed. Source: CBC

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Election Round-up: Two weeks to go

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TheIndependent.ca counts down the weeks to the provincial election with a quick’n’dirty roundup of what’s happening on the campaign trails…

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The Party Platforms

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Liberal, NDP, and PC plans for Newfoundland and Labrador post October 11

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PC commitments reportedly to cost $135 million

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The Telegram is reporting that the PC promises outlined in its election platform document or “Blue Book” will cost taxpayers $135 million. Dunderdale introduced the “New Energy” platform yesterday, hammering home a theme of fiscal responsibility. The various promises by the PC party include: a continued freeze on post-secondary education tuition; the elimination of provincial student loans in favour of needs-based grants; the undertaking a comprehensive review of emergency response services throughout the province; working with the private sector and the federal government to provide province-wide, high-speed Internet access within four years; and the introduction of a provincial fitness tax credit. Check TheIndependent.ca’s NL Election 2011 page to see the PC “Blue Book”. Source: The Telegram

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Non-stop election coverage? Try the CBC live blog.

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If you have an appetite for continuous provincial election coverage, you might want to check out the CBC NL Votes live blog. Keeping up with the activities of the three parties can be hard enough – not to mention with the candidates themselves. But the NL Votes Live Blog features the Twitter feeds of the entire CBC election team all over the province, keeping you up-to-the-minute with whatever’s going on. Check it out via the link below. NL Votes Live Blog

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The election – 4 years ago

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The Independent roots through its archives to present the political scene just 4 years ago – on the eve of the 2007 election.

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