Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Newfoundland Liberals

The Newfoundland Liberals have 11 MLAs in the legislature. I want to do a short examination of them.

Dwight Ball
Ball is the leader, and former interim leader. His riding is on the Northern Peninsula, in Eastern and Northern Newfoundland. He narrowly held his riding in the last election.

Jim Bennett
Bennett is Ball's riding neighbour, and won by a similarly narrow margin in the last election. He's perhaps best known for being leader for 3 months, and being married to Sandra Pupatello.

Randy Edmunds
One of the few riding gains for the party in the last election, he represents northern Labrador.

Eddie Joyce
Another riding neighbour of both Ball and Bennett, Joyce is a former interim leader. He regained his seat, which he had held for years, after losing it in the prior election.

Andrew Parsons
Representing an area in the south-west, Parsons is the son of former leader Kelvin Parsons, who was leader during the last election.

These 5 members are the only 5 MLAs who were elected as Liberals in the last election.

Lisa Dempster
This is the person who replaced Yvonne Jones when she ran federally. Dempster managed to hold the riding for the party.

These are the 6 ridings the party won in the last election.

Sam Slade
Elected in a by-election last year, Slade represents a part of the Avalon peninsula.

These are the 7 people who entered the legislature as Liberals.

Tom Osborne
After sitting as an Independent for a year, this former Tory joined the Liberals in 2013.

Paul Lane
Another former Tory also from the St. John's area, Paul joined the party only a few weeks ago in protest of Dunderdale, who resigned the next day.

Dale Kirby
This third St. John's MLA comes from the NDP, he crossed the floor yesterday!

Christopher Mitchelmore
Also from the NDP, this MLA comes from the tip of the Northern Peninsula. His departure from the NDP and joining the Liberals makes the former a St. John's only party, and gives the Liberals a solid area of support on the Northern Peninsula. Mitchelmore won the riding in 2011 on a base of 7% NDP support. He was the only NDPer elected in the western half of the province; and won the riding based on who he is and not what party he ran for.

These are the 11 MLAs in the Newfoundland Liberals.

It is rare for a party to gain so many MLAs from all sorts of parties like this. Frankly, the last time it happened, in memory (I could be wrong) was in 1971 when the Alberta PC Party won a majority. They had won 6 seats in the prior election but went into the election with 10 MLAs, due to by-elections and floor crossers.

In short; this all but guarantees a Liberal majority. 4 people don't jump parties to a party that can't re-elect them, or, that would elect them to an opposition.

This is a map of what that looks like:


  1. This map is more for entertainment sake. It's a "possible" outcome of the next election. Based much more on past results and trends than math.

  2. It is a good point that MHAs would not cross the floor if they didn't think doing so would help their re-election but, their constituents may see this as mere carpetbagging and opportunism and hold different opinions as to the deservedness of their re-election. The NDP has for years stated in party policy that if a MLA or MP crosses the floor a by-election should be called so these two new members are certainly hypocrites and possibly worse.

    The second major problem I foresee is of cohesion especially on policy. With a caucus made from Liberals, Dippers and Tories a variety of policy proposals may emerge and differences may come out into the open. How do these new MHAs who represent almost half the Liberal caucus and who campaigned against the Liberal platform in the last election square that circle? How will the party leadership coin policies that this diverse caucus can all agree with?

    It may all work out of course but, with a year to go before the election I would expect some bumps on the road for the Liberals.

  3. Newfoundland has M.H.A.s Member of the House of Assembly not M.L.A.s. Houses of Assembly are usually found in the oldest British colonies. Nova Scotia also has a House of Assembly but, members are M.L.A.s. I don't know why or when it changed but, it probably occurred when Nova Scotia abolished its upper house the Legislative Council. At that time the need to distinguish between different legislators inside the Legislature was no longer needed since the Legislature became unicameral.