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NL Election 2011 - page 3

Liberals have moose priorities

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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward said Wednesday he will settle a class action lawsuit over moose-vehicle collisions, if his party wins the Oct. 11 election. And convinced that the current pilot project for moose fencing is inadequate, Aylward said his party would install moose fencing after identifying hotspots along the province’s highways. He said moose-vehicle accidents have claimed too many lives and that it is time for a policy that responds to what people want. Aylward said he would find the money for expanded moose fencing in the provincial highway budget, and would develop policies in consultation with the Save our People Action Committee. Source: CBC

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NDP would decrease gas tax

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Lorraine Michael, leader of the NDP, said yesterday that her party would eliminate the provincial portion of the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. “It’s perfectly fair to have taxes. We have to have taxes, but it is not fair to tax people on a tax,” Michael said at a campaign event near a gas station on Elizabeth Avenue. Michael said the gas tax cut will save consumers about 3.5 cents per litre, and put about $35 million back into people’s pockets. Michael made the announcement a day after revealing an election platform that included imposing a new surtax on offshore oil companies. That tax would be used to pay for broadened social spending. Source: CBC

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The PCs: Smooth Sailing

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Barring a monumental collapse in support, the party will be just fine heading into their 3rd consecutive majority government.

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Dunderdale calls Liberal pension plan “frightening”

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Kathy Dunderdale reacted to Liberal leader Kevin Aylward’s promise to award public service pensioners – and she’s not a fan. Aylward promised pensioners a 2.5% increase and an indexed pension up to 2%, but the PC leader says it will cost far too much, adding about $1.8-billion to the unfunded liability and thus our provincial debt. Source: VOCM

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New poll released – leaders react

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According to a new poll by MQO Research, the Tories are holding relatively steady with 53% of the decided vote, the NDP have created some distance with 29% and the Liberals are slumping with 18%. NDP leader Lorraine Michael says that she is “encouraged” by the polls; PC leader Kathy Dunderdale says that the numbers are pretty stable as far as the PCs are concerned; while Liberal leader Kevin Aylward says he has total confidence in the number of seats they’re competitive in, and that the numbers will change and will likely go up and down as the campaign goes on. For a look at why popular vote shares might not mean as much as you think they would, especially in this election, check out our NL Election 2011 page. Source: VOCM

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NDP want to raise oil tax, spend it on social programs

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The New Democratic Party released its election platform yesterday, a platform which would force oil companies to pay higher taxes to pay for broadened social services. Lorraine Michael has outlined 5 “pledges” or cornerstones of their platform which in total represent $142 million in new spending – $74 million of which she says will come from “efficiencies” and $68 million from a petroleum royalty surtax of three per cent. The NPD’s pledges are titled “meeting the health needs of people”, “making life more affordable now”, “supporting our seniors”, “giving our children an early start”, and “getting a fair deal for working people”. Stay tuned to The Independent for a full review of the NDP platform. Source: CBC

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Liberals make promise to public service pensioners

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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward has promised to provide a one-time increase to public sector pensioners of 2.5 per cent, and then make annual increases equivalent to the Consumer Price Index up to 2 per cent. Currently, the public service pensions are not indexed. Aylward was speaking to a rally organized by the members of the Public Sector Pensioners Association, who had congregated at the Confederation Building. The association has had a lengthy battle with government to get an increase for public service pensioners but has been unable to secure extra funding. “Healthy pension plans for all retirees is a critical part of supporting the seniors of our province,” said Aylward. Source: CBC

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A quick introduction to the provincial leaders

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The Canadian Press published their “Quicksketches” on the provincial leadership hopefuls yesterday, which serve as a helpful introduction to the characters in play for the next 4 weeks for those who aren’t intimately familiar with them already. ——————————— Kathy Dunderdale | PC Party Age: 59 Education: Attended Memorial University. Early career: Worked in community development, communications, fisheries and social work before entering politics. Political career: She was a town councillor and later deputy mayor of Burin before she was first elected to the legislature for the St. John’s area riding of Virginia Waters in 2003. She was sworn in as premier on Dec. 3, 2010. Served as minister of innovation, trade, rural development, natural resources and deputy premier in the government of Danny Williams. Personal: Married to Peter Dunderdale and they have raised two children, a son and daughter. Quote: “I think that what we have to say will resonate…

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Save the children! No, like really.

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New survey paints a grim picture for childcare in this province

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Writ drops for Provincial election

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As signs have already started to appear on streets and lawns, the 2011 provincial election has officially begun. This race will not be short of interesting stories: Will Kathy Dunderdale become only the 2nd woman in history to lead a provincial party to election victory? Will the Liberals’ last minute switch to Kevin Aylward alter the party’s standings in the next House of Assembly? Or will Lorraine Michael ride the wave of NDP momentum to new heights in NL? Check back often with The Independent for unique coverage of the election. Meanwhile for information regarding what riding you reside in, how and when you can vote, and more visit the Elections Newfoundland and Labrador website here. The vote will take place on October 11. Check out the party websites to get started. PC Party (Kathy Dunderdale) Liberal Party (Kevin Aylward) NDP Party (Lorraine Michael)

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House of Commons back in session

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While most eyes in Newfoundland and Labrador will be focused on provincial politics, news from Ottawa this Fall will likely come fast and furious. After years of hoping and planning, the Conservatives are expected to act now on many of their initiatives that were derailed due to the politics of minority government. However, with a majority, hot topics the Fall are expected to include: the redistribution of seats in the House adding 30 more ridings; the passing of new crime and punishment measures; the elimination or diminishing of the Wheat Board and Long Gun Registry; the issues surrounding Canada’s need to reduce its deficit; and the future of the Senate. Many of these issues will be directly relevant to Federal/Provincial relations, so keep an eye out for how the House of Commons’ agenda will affect the races here back home.

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St. John’s looking to change arrangement with province

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The Telegram is reporting today that St. Johns wants the province to change its financial relationship with the capital city. “Currently, the city gets a $3-million annual operating grant from the province, and capital works projects are split 70-30, with the province paying the lion’s share. However, O’Keefe said the city is willing to forgo the grant and pay half the cost of major projects if the province is willing to start paying for its building permits and taxes on provincial buildings, from which it is currently exempt.” As the federal government pays taxes and permit fees for its properties, this is an interesting issue for the Provincial government. Source: The Telegram

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Opposition questions report in Muskrat Falls

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The Opposition is questioning an independent report which has given the Muskrat Falls development the thumbs-up. Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward says there was a flaw in the mandate of the report: Navigant (the consultant) was commissioned to look at what Nalcor has already done, and Aylward says Nalcor has only considered one option. If they form the government, Aylward says the Liberals will halt the spending, stop the contracts and set-up an independent process to look at all of the power options. Meanwhile Nalcor CEO Ed Martin says Navigant looked at the same alternative energy options as Nalcor did. He says Navigant came in to try and find something wrong, and they didn’t. Source: VOCM

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Open Marystown fish plant: NDP leader

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NDP Leader Lorraine Michael unveiled the NDP party’s fisheries policy yesterday, which includes wanting the provincial government to help reopen a fish plant that has been idled amid a dispute over exported raw product. Workers from the OCI plant in Marystown who travelled to St. John’s liked what Michael had to say. Despite the party’s support for a rationalization program — which would have seen drastic cuts in shrimp and crab processing capacity —the NDP now also wants action taken to protect the groundfish operation in Marystown. Source: CBC

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The Liberals: 2nd is a Success?

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The NDP: A Long way to go
In this 3-part series, the results of the 2007 election are represented geographically, giving us an idea of the work ahead for each party to win even just one more seat.

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Consultant’s review supports Muskrat Falls project

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Nalcor has released a consultant’s report that supports its plan to develop the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project on the Lower Churchill River. The study written by a consulting company called Navigant said there is a substantial benefit to developing the project, compared to alternatives. Click here to read the report’s summary and key findings in pdf format. Source: CBC

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Pair of pharmacists running for Liberals

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In the middle of an on-going dispute between independent pharmacy owners and the provincial government – where the former has now filed papers to take the latter to court – two members of CICPO ( Council of Independent Community Pharmacy Owners) will be running for the Liberal party in the upcoming election. Todd Squires is one of those pharmacists, and will be running in the district of St. Mary’s. Doyle, disgruntled by the current regime, says the province has a minister and a government that have fought with nurses, doctors, ambulance operators, home care operators, and, most recently, firefighters. Source: VOCM

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The NDP: A Long way to go

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In this 3-part series, the results of the 2007 election are represented geographically, giving us an idea of the work ahead for each party to win even just one more seat.

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NDP candidate breaking election rules

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George Murphy, NDP candidate for St. John’s East, says a fundraising letter sent out prior to the issuing of the election writ was done by accident and is asking his supporters to ignore it. Candidates are forbidden by law to raise money until the election writ is officially issued, which isn’t expected to happen until next Monday. The chief electoral office has also received a copy of Murphy’s letter and a spokesperson says Murphy will be asked to repay any money raised. Source: CBC

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