Jim Furlong: Showdown at Windsor Lake

I confess to being an unrepentant political junkie. At all levels it draws me in. My record on predictions isn’t that  great. It is average at best. I knew the Liberals would win provincially and Justin Trudeau would survive attack ads about his hair and win nationally. 

That was easy. The result I didn’t see coming was Donald Trump. I still don’t believe that one although I take some comfort in the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by a couple of a million.  That brings us now to the November 20th byelection here in Newfoundland in the district of Windsor Lake, the seat vacated by Cathy Bennett. 

Good Marks 

I don’t know who is going to win that seat. Provincial Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie is in. Crosbie gets good marks from me for announcing that winning the seat is critically important to his leadership and that given the situation in the province from the cost of electricity and Muskrat Falls to the economy he had better win. I liked that from him. 

The Liberals, and they are the RULING Liberals, have a heavyweight in harness in the person of Paul Antle. He was a former candidate for the leadership of the party and has run for election unsuccessfully.  He is however a loyal soldier in the Liberal ranks and a great organizer. He brings a skill set to the table and also offers to the residents of the district an opportunity to have a sitting member on the government side of the House. 

The NDP were third in to the race and have offered Kerri Claire Neil as their candidate. She won the nomination as this is being written. She is a feminist and social activist and is, at this stage, a political unknown. Fear not. Brian Tobin won his first seat to Ottawa in an election as a “third” candidate who wasn’t supposed to win.

An Uphill Battle 

Now I no longer work in news so I don’t have to pretend everybody has an equal opportunity to win. They don’t. The most ardent NDP supporter would acknowledge their struggle is uphill at best, but who WILL win that seat? The answer is that after looking at all the factors and thinking the whole thing through and weighing everything carefully…I just don’t know. I haven’t got a clue. To be considered… byelections are often opportunities for people to express dissatisfaction with government without actually kicking them out of office. Also to be considered …things seem to have been getting better for the Liberals and promises of “mitigating” forecast electricity hikes may be finding traction. There is as well the weather. It has been a nice warm summer. Is that a factor? Yes it is in terms of how people “feel”. 

It might be simply who can identify and move their vote better. I know one of the great fallacies in politics is that the most popular candidate wins. That isn’t so. It is the candidate that has the most votes. They aren’t the same thing. 

A great race. Many questions to be answered. Antle, Claire Neil, Crosbie  (alphabetical order). I can’t wait. 

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