PC, NDP leaders' futures uncertain after losses in N.L. provincial election

·3 min read
A change of leadership for Newfoundland and Labrador's PC and NDP parties is possible, after both leaders lost their seats in the House of Assembly Saturday.  (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A change of leadership for Newfoundland and Labrador's PC and NDP parties is possible, after both leaders lost their seats in the House of Assembly Saturday. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A change of leadership for Newfoundland and Labrador's PC and NDP parties is possible, after both leaders lost their seats in the House of Assembly Saturday.
A change of leadership for Newfoundland and Labrador's PC and NDP parties is possible, after both leaders lost their seats in the House of Assembly Saturday. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

PC Leader Ches Crosbie and NDP Leader Alison Coffin both lost their seats inside the House of Assembly on Saturday.

What the future holds for either party is now uncertain.

Crosbie didn't speak to the media after results were made public by Elections NL, but in a pre-recorded message the PC leader said he was going to "take a few days to reflect on what has happened and determine where to go from here."

In her speech, Coffin said she would continue to help St. John's Centre incumbent Jim Dinn and Labrador West incumbent Jordan Brown "however and whenever I can."

When asked on Saturday about the possibility of taking over the leadership, Dinn said he has "no such ambitions or inclinations," and plans to continue to focus on his district.

Crosbie took over in 2018 after beating Stephenville-Port au Port MHA Tony Wakeham for the leadership bid. Coffin became leader of the NDP in 2019 after the resignation of former leader Gerry Rogers.

For now, it appears both Crosbie and Coffin will remain leaders of their respective parties.

Rogers told CBC News that despite the party now holding only two seats inside the legislature and the leader being left without a seat, she believes the NDP will still hold the new Liberal majority government accountable, while remaining collaborative.

"I think that's what we saw before this election when there was a minority government. We saw the collaboration, and I think that's what the people of the province want," she said.

"They want our government to be collaborative, to work together, because what's facing us is really, really difficult. As Andrew Furey said 'what is next, may be hard.'"

Premier Andrew Furey will take his seat at the head of Newfoundland and Labrador's next Liberal majority government.
Premier Andrew Furey will take his seat at the head of Newfoundland and Labrador's next Liberal majority government. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

As for the provincial Tories, former PC cabinet minister Sandy Collins said he doesn't believe Crosbie will stay on as leader.

This election was Crosbie's second effort at claming the premier's chair, after losing out to Liberal Dwight Ball in 2019. Coffin was also in that race.

"Many thought that after the last general election his days were numbered, but he stuck around for this one," Collins said of Crosbie.

"I foresee, in a couple of days, an announcement coming out with an interim leader being named."

Collins said leadership could fall to Wakeham, Terra Nova MHA Lloyd Parrott or Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans MHA Chris Tibbs — who posted a video to social media earlier in March indicating he one day wanted to become the party's leader. The video was deleted shortly after it was published.

"[They] have the leadership capabilities to lead this party, as well as some people outside the party," Collins said.

"I don't know what the aspirations are at this point, but we have options and with Ches' defeat, as well with Alison, it gives two opposition parties the opportunity to hit a reset button."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador