Advertisement

Byelection postponed, schools closing early amid winter storm warning

Winter weather has caused a hiccup in the Conception Bay East-Bell Island byelection, moving voting back a day to Tuesday. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Winter weather has caused a hiccup in the Conception Bay East-Bell Island byelection, moving voting back a day to Tuesday. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada - image credit)

With a snowstorm moving towards the eastern part of Newfoundland, the province's chief electoral officer has made a decision to delay an important byelection in Conception Bay East-Bell Island.

Voting was slated to take place on Monday, but will now happen on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The region is under a winter storm warning, with as much as 25 centimetres of snow in the forecast. Heavy winds gusting to 80 km/hr are expected to arrive in the evening, causing whiteout conditions.

"The decision to postpone polling day is due to the forecasted intense weather during the busiest hours of voting," reads a news release from the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. "The safety of electors and staff is our primary focus, while providing electors with a fair opportunity to vote."

The release says there could be changes to some voting locations due to the postponement. More updates will be provided by Elections NL throughout Monday.

School closures

Students in the metro St. John's region will be heading home three hours early on Monday, due to the impending storm.

NL Schools made the announcement at 6 a.m., about six hours ahead of the expected start of snowfall.

Other schools — such as those in Clarenville, Conception Bay North, and Port Rexton — made a decision to close all day.

A full list of school closures can be found here.

Clarenville, Bonavista and Burin are expected to see between 10 and 20 cm of snow, with winds gusting slightly less than those in St. John's. It is expected to begin around noon and last until midnight.

Tory stronghold up for grabs

The byelection — triggered by the resignation of former interim PC leader David Brazil — features four candidates with roots in the region.

Tina Neary, a town councillor in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, is representing the PCs.

Longtime broadcaster Fred Hutton has campaigned hard for the Liberals, with support from the premier and cabinet ministers.

Kim Churchill, who has made a name advocating for her deaf son in a battle against the school district, is the NDP candidate.

Darryl Harding, another Portugal Cove-St. Philip's town councillor and former PC district association president, is running as an Independent.

Tina Neary (left), Darryl Harding, Kim Churchill and Fred Hutton have been vying to become the province's next member of the House of Assembly.
Tina Neary (left), Darryl Harding, Kim Churchill and Fred Hutton have been vying to become the province's next member of the House of Assembly.

From left, Tina Neary, Darryl Harding, Kim Churchill and Fred Hutton are vying to become Newfoundland and Labrador's next member of the House of Assembly. (CBC/Radio-Canada)

The Tories won handily in the last election, garnering 56 per cent of the vote. That was a decrease from the 2019 election, however, when Brazil won 74 per cent of voters' approval.

The governing Liberals feel they have a strong candidate in Hutton, who is a household name in the province after a lengthy career that saw him host flagship radio and TV shows with NTV, VOCM and the CBC.

The NDP have put Churchill front and centre of late, as evidenced at a news conference last week in which she commented on health-care vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Download our free CBC News app to sign up for push alerts for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. Click here to visit our landing page.