Newfoundland Labrador, Newfoundland, Saint John discussed on The Big Story
Jordan Keith Rawlings and this is the big story. David Vidmar is the legislative reporter for the Saint John's telegram in Newfoundland where we head for our latest in our lay of the land series the Saint John's telegram is part of the Salt Wire Fire Network Hi David. How's it going. It is going very well. Thank you for joining us from the East Coast. How is the grand experiment of democracy going out there. Well things are I mean changes changes. The norm. I think is a is a quite frequently in Newfoundland Labrador typically. We just came out of a provincial election which is back on back on. May Sixteenth where there was this massive liberal majority where they had thirty one seats in the provincial legislature and that has cut down to twenty which gives them a one seat edge over the you know over the opposition parties and whatnot so that was a that was a big moment obviously for us out here to see that amount of seats being cut down in Atlantic Canada. Generally I mean there's been there's been I it's only Nova Oh Scotia that hasn't gone to gone to the polls fairly recently they went back in two thousand sixteen you know but but we're seeing the Greens obviously making some eat some interesting in roads and whatnot in an and in an MP and New Brunswick they didn't quite formed government but my God did they come close so you know being close to the water being close to you know relying so much a natural resources. I think is is starting to rear. Its head just a little bit here on the East Coast. What are the chances that you're provincial election earlier. This year is a microcosm of what will happen to the federal liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador which were a complete sweep last time yeah and that's always the question you know. How much can we really read it into provincial politics to federal politics. you know it's it's. It's it's not a one to one ratio. There's we'll see how that plays out but I I wrote a story. Worry about this. about you know we can have of course online that talking to pollster. Don Mills Search Area Whatnot and the way that he phrased in terms of whether or not the liberals can sweep across Atlantic on to Canada with all thirty two seats He said that there's zero percent chance that happened on October hangover twenty so couldn't really be more more definitive than that a you know there and in Newfoundland Labrador everyone is kind of pointing at Saint John's east as as really Kinda main battleground. Perhaps even the only battleground. I think the Liberals will still see some success here in Oakland lambreau because we I have never in our history sent sent no liberals. There's has always been at least one liberal. That's insane from Labrador to up to Ottawa but we've sent all seven easier as liberals at twice in our history so there might I don't to be one opportunity Lucy. you know an interesting thing about about. Saint John's is that it's a direct rematch from two thousand sixteen election Harris Yeah Yeah Yeah. It's it's a one to one Nick Whale on it is the incumbent and in two thousand fifteen he beat Jack Harris who was a he was first elected in nineteen eighty seven that he lost real quick in the in the election after that and then he was years for the as the DP leader in the province and became the d. n. p. once again. I believe in two thousand eight hundred I elected and and now they're just having another crack at it. You know in John's east. I remember Canada conventional wisdom at the time which I guess didn't turn out to be completely wise was saying that Saint John's was was the most safe seat in the country for the new Democrats on the federal scale and then you so yeah yeah there was another really tight race so at the time in two thousand fifteen Ryan cleary was was was the incumbent for the MVP going up against the shameless regan whose name we all know much more on the federal a federal thing these days so any kind of went all in on Ryan cleary and maybe kind of forgot about it was just a little bit but this around it does not look like they are forgetting about checkers. You know Jagmeet facing was here before the election was even called so they really seem to be kind of investing there so you know in this province if any district is going to not be liberal liberal by the time October twenty first. It's probably John's east but you know nick. Whale is not going to go down without a fight no question about that so what makes Newfoundland and Labrador because we're doing this with all of the provinces what makes Newfoundland Labrador different from the other Atlantic provinces first of all but from from voters and the rest of the country to the biggest thing for us is that most of the people who live in Newfoundland Labrador live on the island of Newfoundland and most of us who live in Newfoundland live on kind of the northeast avalon which which is you know I'm I'm speaking to you from Saint John's right now which is really about as like it. If you're going to look at what the geography tells you it's as though everyone in on the island roofing like gathered as far away from mainland Canada as humanly possible which is essential for something but yeah which you know we'll we'll get back to that one but the fact that we are such big island really doesn't make us unique. I guess be is obviously an island is in the it's in the name but we you know we really are massive expensive land with a with a with a relatively small population by five hundred twenty five thousand people according in the two thousand sixteen sentences counter counted here and one particular thing that makes us unique across the country is that that population is going down the demographics of Newfoundland Labrador. We are getting older faster than anybody else. I believe that the the average population or the average age of newfoundlander right now is like forty six years old and by twenty forty. That's GonNa that's GONNA go up to above above fifty yeah. It's you know so we're getting older and the fertility rate is is is downward. We're dying faster than we are being born for one thing and then on top of that to oil downturn turn in say twenty two thousand fourteen twenty fifty and really really hit this province hard we in the last provincial budgets and twenty eighteen. We made a billion dollars off oil and gas. Ask and you know that's that's all guests are inter. Inter the royalties one for the government you know and that's on a pretty average price of oil. You Know Beckon Twenty before early two thousand twelve twenty fourteen or something like that. was you know we're looking at over one hundred dollars for a barrel also so my God we had money and now we don't so we have people people who are literally dying and not being replaced and people are leaving so the demographic challenges for Newfoundland Labrador really what's it's top of mind. I think that at this point. How does that impact what voters want from their government. What are they looking for right. Now that other younger younger more prosperous provinces might not well. This is a maybe a little bit of Jason here but but but but the main thing that we're looking for I think right now is is support from the federal government when it comes to Muskrat falls because that's the other thing that makes particularly unique in the country you know we talk about large hydroelectric dams you. I heard a sightsee and whatnot but but Muskrat falls was started by the provincial government or sanctioned in two thousand ten and at the time that the the sanction to the to the population or the the number that was put out there for the cost was six point two billion dollars. Not You know not a small chunk of change at the time for a prophet to five hundred thousand people now. It's twelve point seven billion dollars and there's a real risk that electricity bills in this province are going to double as a result of this and you you know the provincial government people were trying to work in trying to figure out how to how to prevent that from happening and one of the direct ask that. I think it was a little while ago. The finance minister just made a direct call just before the election actually the finance minister. Tom Osborne made a direct call to all party. Leaders saying we need money. We need about two hundred million dollars a year from the federal government a direct federal subsidy to Newfoundland Labrador's power bills in addition to about another half billion dollars annually that the that the province is going to have to come up with on its own court to try to to try to keep electricity rates down but but you know we need a commitment of two hundred million dollars.