May 19, 2019 11:20 am
Updated: May 19, 2019 3:11 pm

N.L. premier says MHAs need to work together in minority legislature

WATCH ABOVE: No regrets tabling a budget then calling an election, Dwight Ball says


While Liberal governments have fallen in P.E.I., New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, this week voters in Newfoundland and Labrador went against the so-called conservative “blue wave.”

READ MORE: N.L. voters re-elect Dwight Ball’s Liberals to form minority government

But within the realm of N.L. politics, the victory of the governing Liberals also bucked a different trend — the party received a minority mandate, something that hasn’t happened in the province since the heyday of disco.

The Liberals’ grip on the House of Assembly was weakened from 27 to 20 seats in Thursday’s vote, while the Progressive Conservatives ended up with a total of 15 seats. Three New Democrats and two independent candidates were also elected.

WATCH: Dwight Ball says parties must work together in minority government

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Speaking with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, Premier Dwight Ball pointed out that while it may be rare for N.L. to have a minority government, it’s not uncommon federally, and it’s in line with what’s happening across the region.

“We have three minority governments within Atlantic Canada right now and in Nova Scotia, a government with a two-seat majority,” he pointed out.

READ MORE: What Liberal losses in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick mean for Justin Trudeau in 2019

As he starts his second term in office, Ball continues to face what he acknowledged were unprecedented challenges. The province is facing staggering debt, the continuing fallout of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, as well the country’s highest unemployment rates.

Ball was optimistic about the future, however, and said his plan is working.

WATCH: Ball says new mandate is a ‘new era of politics’ in province

“Newfoundland and Labrador in 2019, will lead the country in GDP growth,” he said.

“We’re seeing jobs coming to Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re seeing investment coming to our province.”

He said the the entire legislature needs to co-operate to address the province’s challenges.

WATCH: Newfoundland PC leader calls minority ‘unique

Voters “made it loud and clear that they are asking us to work on their behalf. And in order for us to work on their behalf, we must work together,” Ball said.

However, Tory leader Ches Crosbie, a well-known lawyer and son of politician John Crosbie, refused to concede on election night.

He later struck a different tone, and apologized for not congratulating the premier on election night.

READ MORE: Polls close in Newfoundland and Labrador after muted ‘non-campaign’

The election was called just a day after the Liberals tabled their budget — a move that Ball told Mercedes Stephenson he doesn’t regret.

“This year’s budget was part of the larger plan that we put in place to bring growth and sustainability to Newfoundland and Labrador. That plan is working. Our budget in 2019 was a part of that,” he said.

WATCH: Newfoundland PCs Crosbie slams snap election

And as for the blue wave narrative, when asked about the recent shift to the right at provincial ballot boxes, Ball didn’t cast blame on the federal Liberals for the seats his party lost.

He said he heard concerns from voters involving all levels of government.

WATCH: N.L. elects the first minority government in decades

“We [heard] challenges, you know, throughout this campaign. Many of them would have been on provincial issues. Some of them would have been on federal issues. Some of them would have been even on, you know, just community issues,” he said.

With files from Mercedes Stephenson, Global News

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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