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Concerns raised over short time frame for rotational workers to vote in N.L. election

Click to play video 'Critics question timing of N.L. election call' Critics question timing of N.L. election call
Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal leader Andrew Furey, is facing criticism after calling an early provincial election for February 13. As Ross Lord explains, critics suspect the incumbent Liberals have something to hide. – Jan 23, 2021

Newfoundland and Labrador’s thousands of rotational workers are once again at the top of the province’s policy discussions, this time in relation to the timing of the provincial election.

In a release Saturday, Chris Tibbs, a Progressive Conservative candidate in central Newfoundland, says a snap election called in the middle of winter makes it tough for rotational workers to vote.

His concerns are echoed in a local Facebook group for rotational workers, which began in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when health authorities were rolling out special quarantine rules for people regularly travelling back and forth to other provinces for work.

Read more: The question looming over N.L.’s winter pandemic election: Will anyone vote?

Many in the group are sharing information on how to vote by mail, urging their fellow rotational workers to be sure they get a ballot.

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In an interview, Gillian Pearson, who co-chairs a local group supporting women and gender-diverse people in politics, says snap elections can also make it harder for women to run, as they are often in charge of child- or elder-care and must make arrangements.

According to the province’s election rules, Liberal leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey had to call an election before August 2021.

Read more: ‘We’ve done a good job:’ COVID-19 vaccinations begin for Labrador’s Inuit

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021.