As was suggested in last week’s editorial, such a scenario could make it tough for current Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Sam Slade to keep a seat in the House of Assembly, assuming he’d need to face off against fellow Liberal and current Trinity-Bay de Verde representative Steve Crocker for a nomination.
There’s an old saying in journalism that reporters should strive to dig deeper in order to identify what’s truly happening with any given story. In the case of Trinity-Carbonear and the likelihood of whether or not Slade can win that seat, to suggest the odds are stacked against him might be a premature call to make.
In fact, the numbers are pretty evenly split in Trinity-Carbonear when you look at eligible voters represented from the present district. The byelections that Slade and Crocker won were almost exactly a year apart. Taking into account eligible voters and those who were sworn in at polling stations, Trinity-Bay de Verde would have 6,003 people eligible to cast ballots in the redrawn district. That covers Heart’s Delight-Islington up to Bay de Verde and down along the North Shore, ending in Salmon Cove.
Communities that Slade currently represents — Freshwater, Victoria, Carbonear and Bristol’s Hope — would account for 5,812 eligible voters in the new district.
With less than 200 voters separating those two territories, it’s safe to suggest a Liberal nomination battle for Trinity-Carbonear would be a tight race if Crocker and Slade both went for it.
Slade, who was a very popular mayor in Carbonear for many years before entering provincial politics, has a more than reasonable shot at attracting votes in the Trinity South and North Shore areas. His background as a fisherman would certainly help.
For Crocker, stealing Liberal votes from Slade in Carbonear could prove to be a difficult task. One clear advantage for Crocker is that Slade’s current share of the proposed district is small geographically, so the amount of legwork it will take to knock on new doors in these towns will be comparatively less than what Slade will face venturing into Crocker’s turf. Crocker, as mentioned earlier, is also working with a slight advantage when it comes to eligible voters.
If public hearings scheduled to start this week fail to alter the course set by the boundaries commission, we should be in for a very interesting battle in Trinity-Carbonear.
Andrew Robinson is The Compass’ editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.