New MHA-elect says Fogo Island-Cape Freels win sends a clear message to the governing Liberals

Newfoundland and Labrador’s newest MHA-elect says his resounding win in Monday’s byelection is a warning to the governing Liberals about what’s to come.Jim McKenna took 58 per cent of the vote in the Fogo Island-Cape Freels byelection, becoming the first Progressive Conservative winner in the district since it was created in 2015.The Liberal candidate, Dana Blackmore, came in second with 39 per cent. The two were separated by more than 1,000 votes.”Everyone wanted to send a message to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador,” McKenna said. “They’re just not listening. They’re not paying attention.”McKenna said he was overwhelmed by the support he received. He was joined by PC Leader Tony Wakeham at the doors, as well as numerous other Tory MHAs.He said the state of the fishery was one of the biggest issues he heard from people while campaigning. March was full of furor in the fisheries, as harvesters protested outside the house of government in St. John’s.That was followed by a 10-day tie-up in the crab fishery over a pricing dispute. WATCH | Premier Andrew Furey believes this issue was at the centre of why the Liberals lost a seat: The Liberals lost a byelection. Andrew Furey has a possible explanationFogo Island-Cape Freels will be represented by PC Jim McKenna, who won a byelection in the district Monday called after the death of MHA Derrick Bragg in mid-January. Bragg was beloved, says Premier Furey, who believes a recent key issue played a part in the district going blue.
McKenna said he heard from harvesters in the area who felt the Liberals weren’t doing enough to address those issues, along with others like health care and ferry services. Those are the issues he plans to address when he gets to the Confederation Building in St. John’s, he said.”I want to be a voice for the people. I want to advocate on behalf of the people of Fogo Island-Cape Freels.”The district of Fogo Island-Cape Freels had been Liberal red since it was formed in 2015, held by the late Derrick Bragg. (Patrick Morell/CBC)As for when he’ll be sworn in, McKenna said he wasn’t sure. He was still enjoying the freshness of his win Monday morning, he said, and was expecting more details later in the day.The byelection was called after the death of Liberal cabinet minister Derrick Bragg. The Greenspond native died in January, following his announcement of a diagnosis of tongue cancer in mid-2023. Bragg had held the district since it was formed in 2015. The district comprises the communities surrounding Fogo Island, Gander Bay and the north shore of Bonavista Bay from Cape Freels to Hare Bay.Download our free CBC News app to sign up for push alerts for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. Click here to visit our landing page.

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