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Jack Harris unseats Liberal Nick Whalen in St. John’s East

Jack Harris addresses supporters at the MUN Geo Centre after reclaiming the St. John's East riding from Liberal incumbent Nick Whalen.
Jack Harris addresses supporters at the MUN Geo Centre after reclaiming the St. John's East riding from Liberal incumbent Nick Whalen. - David Maher

NDP MP heads back to the House of Commons

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Jack Harris is an elected official one more time.

Harris won back the seat he lost four years ago to Liberal Nick Whalen.

The 2015 result saw just 464 votes in Whalen’s favour. In 2019, Harris won by more than 5,000 votes to become the only New Democratic MP representing Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa.

Harris won his ninth election of his political career on the federal and provincial levels, just six days shy of his 71st birthday.

“I want to congratulate Nick Whalen, Joedy Wall, and David Peters. I think it’s fair to say it’s been a spirited campaign in St. John’s East. Democracy is very well served when quality people put their name forward and offer to represent the people of the province,” Harris told a room full of supporters at the Johnson GEO Centre in St. John’s.

With a minority government looking more and more likely, Harris says murmurs of a Liberal-New Democrat coalition government is unlikely.

“We’ve never had a federal coalition government. I don’t think that’s something we’re really talking about at all. What we’re doing is we have a program we put forward. We’ll see what kind of parliament we got,” said Harris.

“We’ll find ways to making sure that as much of that program as possible gets delivered. That’s the value of those things we have as priorities, we have a better chance to getting a universal pharmacare program, a better chance of a dental program that people so desperately need.”

Whalen appeared before Harris arrived at his campaign viewing party at the Johnson GEO Centre to offer congratulations on Harris’s victory.

Harris’ Conservative opponent Joedy Wall also stopped by later in the evening to offer his congratulations on a hard-fought campaign. Wall greatly improved the Conservative Party of Canada’s results in the riding, with around 18 per cent of the vote, compared to 6.5 per cent in 2015.

Green Party candidate David Peters took 746 votes, an improvement from his 500 votes in 2015  

Newfoundland and Labrador NDP Leader Alison Coffin was predictably delighted with the result.

“It’s a real recognition that this is New Democrat territory. Glad to have Jack back,” she said.

“I’ll use one of Jack’s quotes. Jack says a Liberal government is only as good as the number of New Democrats you elect.”

St. John’s Centre MHA Jim Dinn says orange on the federal and provincial levels in St. John’s is notable.

“It’s good to have a New Democrat in the federal seat and two New Democrats in the city. It’s a great combination,” said Dinn.

“I’m hoping this is going to send a notice that the Liberals have got to start working on behalf of Canadians. It’s about keeping the Liberals honest – not only the Liberals but Conservatives as well.”

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