Ches Crosbie taking time to reflect after losing election, and his own seat

·3 min read
PC Leader Ches Crosbie will not be returning to the House of Assembly after losing his seat to Liberal John Hogan on Saturday.  (CBC - image credit)
PC Leader Ches Crosbie will not be returning to the House of Assembly after losing his seat to Liberal John Hogan on Saturday. (CBC - image credit)
PC Leader Ches Crosbie will not be returning to the House of Assembly after losing his seat to Liberal John Hogan on Saturday.
PC Leader Ches Crosbie will not be returning to the House of Assembly after losing his seat to Liberal John Hogan on Saturday. (CBC)

Ches Crosbie's political future is uncertain, after the Progressive Conservative leader lost not only the election, but also his Windsor Lake seat.

Crosbie, who was defeated by Liberal candidate John Hogan by more than 500 votes, was not taking questions from the media Saturday afternoon, but did issue a pre-recorded message shortly after results were released at noon NT.

"I've spoken with Andrew Furey and Alison Coffin and offered them and their teams on behalf of our party, my sincere congratulations on a hard-fought election campaign," Crosbie said in the message.

"Every candidate and every volunteer who stepped forward in this campaign is a winner because democracy wins when voters have a real choice. And the choices our party put forward in this campaign were second to none."

For the better part of 10 weeks Crosbie took aim at Premier Andrew Furey's decision to call a winter election amid a pandemic. His campaign pledged to create jobs for Newfoundland and Labrador and bolster rural communities.

The PC leader also went on the offensive over the pending report from the premier's economic recovery team and accused the Liberals of hiding a plan related to job cuts.

Last fall, the Tories urged Furey to delay an election until October 2021, by amending legislation requiring an election within a year of a new premier taking office, and even introduced a private member's bill to that effect that passed in House of Assembly 18 to 16. However, a private member's bill doesn't change legislation, and Furey announced on Jan. 15 that voters would head to the polls in mid-February, a date that got pushed back after a COVID-19 outbreak sent the province back into lockdown.

In his video message, Crosbie said he "unequivocally" respects the will of the voters.

"But let's not forget, in an election the people choose not only their government, they also choose an official opposition to hold the government's feet to the fire and advocate for people," Crosbie said.

"It has never been more important than right now to accept this role that the people, in their great wisdom, have placed on this party's shoulders."

This was Crosbie's second bid for the premier's seat, having lost in 2019 as former premier Dwight Ball eked out a minority government with half of the legislature's 40 seats.

Crosbie showcased a different side of himself — at least in public knowledge — during his run this time.

His campaign videos were a hit on social media, including one in which he talked non-stop about policy issues, oblivious to his daughter's weariness.

"In light of the outcome of the election, I will be speaking with my family, my caucus and the executive of our party, and I will take a few days to reflect on what has happened and determine where to go from here," he says in the video.

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