Cartwright -- L'anse au Clair by-election

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Cartwright -- L'anse au Clair by-election

Thought a post should be started here for the upcoming by-election to replace Yvonne Jones, who recently became the new MP for Labrador.

The NL Liberals already have their candidate in Lisa Dempster, a formal municipal and Aboriginal politician from the riding.

The NL NDP have nominated Jason Spingle, a union worker and scientist who is also from the riding.

The NL PCs have just opened their nomination process today.

Interesting note: If the NDP win this by-election, they will overtake the Liberals in seats (6 to 5) and become the Official Opposition. 



A writ of election has been issued for the District of Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair by Newfoundland and Labrador’s Chief Electoral Officer, Victor Powers. The by-election will take place on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.


Jason Spingle, who grew up in L'Anse au Clair, is the NDP candidate. For the last 15 years he's been in Corner Brook working with the Food, Fish and Allied Workers Union. Below is the connection for a CBC Radio interview with Jason.


This article tends to emphasize the Liberals chances in the byelection, pointing out that they have won it or its predecessor in every election since 1975 with the single exception of 1996 when Yvonne Jones won it as an independent and then became a Liberal. However, at the end it does note that the NDP are the "wildcard" in the race. 


If there is a wildcard in the race, it’s the NDP. The New Democrats have almost no history in the district. Their candidate had just 44 votes in the 2011 election.

But the NDP is a party on the rise. It finished second in the popular vote in 2011, and in the past year has led polls by Corporate Research Associates, MQO and Environics. Just across the Strait of Belle Isle, another former Liberal stronghold has an NDP MHA.

Fisheries union representative Jason Spingle is running for the NDP in Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair. He believes MHA Christopher Mitchelmore’s presence across the Strait will give the NDP an opening into southern Labrador.

“Well, clearly I point to The Straits-White Bay North … and their history of voting wasn’t with the New Democratic Party,” Spingle tells NTV News.

Spingle was born in the district, but moved away for education and then work. Still, he believes his experience with the FFAW will translate nicely into being a politician.

The prize for the NDP is bigger than just one seat. The Liberals and New Democrats each have five members in the House of Assembly. NDP leader Lorraine Michael has said she will move for the Speaker to declare her caucus the Official Opposition if her party takes Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair from the Liberals.

If you ask all the candidates to name the major issues in the district, each one will answer with roughly the same list: the state of the roads, the state of the ferry service, the fishery, the spotty cell phone service.

All the more reason to vote NDP, says Spingle.

“The government has been in power for 10 years,” he says. “The Liberals have been in opposition for 10 years.

“And as I referenced all of these issues — roads, health care, lack of jobs at Muskrat Falls for Labradorians and people in this district, cellular coverage, issues with the fishery — they’re not being addressed.”



In the following CBC Radio broadcast, reporter Matt McCann says that on his trip around the riding people are telling him the two most important issues are the poor condition of the roads and the lack of young people going into the fishery, which could lead to its death.


At the NDP federal convention in April I spoke with a N & L MHA who was bullish on the party's chances in the Cartwright by-election. At the same time he was pessimistic about the federal by-election, which turned out to be accurate.

Since then, the provincial Liberals have risen sharply in the last poll. given their historic dominace in Cartwright they have to be the favourites but .....


Cartwright gets to chose the official opposition, which is an interesting proposition in and of itself.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

I used to live in Cartwright, it was totally inaccessible by road then. The new "Labrador Highway" is of recent construction, and only suitable for 4x4's and other tough vehicles.  It was and is a wonderful community, I think it very cool that it finally has some input into government.

Lens Solution

Cartwright-L'Anse-au-Clair byelxn: (FINAL--25 of 25 polls)


Lib 1141 (53.5% -17.9)


NDP 703 (33.0% +31)


PC 287 (13.5% -13.1)


In the 2011 general election, Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair was the riding in which the NDP got only 2%, its lowest share of riding vote province-wide.  In this by-election, the NDP got 33%.  That sounds like a great starting base below which other NDP candidates will not fall...

Here's an unusual fact about this by-election. In the 2011 general election, 2131 valid votes were cast. In this by-election, 2131 valid votes were cast. I cannot remember the comparable numbers ever being identical -- typically, the number of votes cast in a by-election tens to be significantly less than in the preceding general election. (The Labrador federal by-election was an exception to this general rule.) Once the official numbers are tallied, this anomaly may disappear.


Year / Event / NDP / N-Cge / Libs / L-Cge /  Cons / C-Cge

2013 / BE / 33% Up 31% / 54% / Dn 17% / 14% / Dn 13%  

2011 / GE / 2% / 71% / 27%


The NDP gained 48% on the Liberals and 44% on the PCs in this by-election - not too shabby!