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HomeCanadaAndrew Furey, N.L.'s rookie premier, has his mandate. Now what? | CBC...

Andrew Furey, N.L.’s rookie premier, has his mandate. Now what? | CBC Information

Andrew Furey speaks at Confederation Constructing in St. John’s on Jan. 15, when he launched the provincial election. It took greater than 10 weeks to get the end result he needed. (CBC)

It took an additional six weeks, however Andrew Furey lastly has what he needed to have by Valentine’s Day: a mandate of his personal to get on with governing Newfoundland and Labrador.

Furey’s Liberals emerged on prime Saturday with the discharge of ends in an election that needed to shift to mail-in voting when an explosive outbreak of the B117 virus variant occurred simply earlier than the scheduled election day.

The Liberals received 22 of the 40 seats within the Home of Meeting, only one seat greater than what Furey wanted for a majority. He might have had hopes for extra, on condition that, within the leadup to the election name in January, public polls had the Liberals with a cushty lead. 

Furey, who received a Liberal management race final August, indicated Saturday that he’s forging forward with plans to restructure how the province is ruled.  

“The time for boldness is now, Newfoundland and Labrador,” Furey mentioned on the shut of his victory speech, delivered in a downtown St. John’s resort room. 

Furey didn’t elaborate a lot on what sort of “boldness” he has in retailer. In a subsequent interview with CBC Information, Furey went to some marketing campaign stump favourites, together with “daring, aggressive targets on immigration and reimagining our inhabitants, to attempt to reverse the demographic disaster that we’re going through.”

Furey additionally took at swing at a boondoggle commissioned by the previous Tory authorities. “We want to repair Muskrat Falls in order that we are able to take care of the structural points from the financial system within the medium time period,” he mentioned, referring to the nonetheless uncompleted hydroelectric megaproject in Labrador that’s billions of {dollars} over funds and years delayed. 

Furey has despatched combined indicators

What the Liberal premier — a 45-year-old orthopedic surgeon who put his medical profession on maintain final yr with a long-expected leap into politics — will do along with his mandate is just not but clear; he is given combined indicators of what the general public can anticipate.

On the one hand, Furey — who has mentioned he has misplaced sleep worrying about managing N.L.’s staggering and ever-growing internet debt, pegged at $16.4 billion — launched two high-profile initiatives geared toward restructuring. An financial workforce headed by St. John’s-born government Moya Greene, a former head of Canada Put up and the Royal Mail who was identified for robust decision-making, was organized in September. Furey additionally launched what’s referred to as a Well being Accord for Newfoundland and Labrador, which is at present listening to from residents on coping with well being spending that its leaders say has turn into unsustainable.

Alternatively, Furey has additionally repeatedly tried to guarantee those who his agenda doesn’t contain sweeping cuts. “Now is just not the time to take jobs out of the financial system,” he mentioned throughout a televised leaders’ debate in early February.

These deferrals, although, might have been a method in an election marketing campaign that went sideways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with in-person voting cancelled on the very eve of the scheduled election. 

Ultimately, Furey got here out of the 10-week marketing campaign with simply three seats greater than he had getting in. 

‘Voters are clever’

In an interview Saturday, he mentioned the general public could be introduced round ought to troublesome measures should be put earlier than them.

“I feel that these are choices that collectively all of us should personal,” Furey mentioned.

“And I feel the general public are clever, the voters are clever. They perceive the problems we face.… What we have to do is guarantee that most people understands the choices, why we’re making them.”

WATCH | Andrew Furey tells Peter Cowan why he believes the voters will belief his decision-making:

Premier Andrew Furey tells CBC’s Peter Cowan how his authorities will clarify plans to residents 4:08

Whereas avoiding specifics of what he has in retailer, Furey indicated the approaching time period might be memorable. 

“That is uncharted territory,” he mentioned.

Furey has a number of points to take care of. They embrace:

The pandemic. The outbreak that threw the election marketing campaign into disarray in February has been contained. N.L. dropped to at least one lively case on Thursday, and on Saturday introduced no new instances for the eighth time in 9 days. The federal government’s objective now could be to ramp up vaccinations, and meet its goal of a minimum of one dose for each grownup who desires one by Canada Day.

Andrew Furey, flanked by Chief Medical Officer of Well being Dr. Janice Fitzgerald and Well being Minster John Haggie, holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December. Ending the vaccination push might be a precedence for his authorities. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

The financial system: Even earlier than the pandemic, N.L. was going through vital financial issues. Lots of them are inner: public debt has been steadily mounting, yr over yr, and successive experiences from the Auditor-Common’s Workplace have warned of a authorities spending past its means.

Federal lobbying: A lot of N.L.’s hurtling debt is related to Muskrat Falls, the hydroelectric megaproject it admits is a boondoggle. With sturdy federal Liberal connections, Furey — the son of Speaker George Furey — has been lobbying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for assist. It is also price noting that regardless of its monetary disaster, N.L. doesn’t qualify for equalization and stays, weirdly and on paper a minimum of, a so-called “have” province.

The Greene report: Dismissed by labour teams and progressives earlier than its interim report has been accomplished, the suggestions of Moya Greene’s workforce of voluntary advisors will probably have nice weight. Furey has promised to take the financial restoration workforce’s recommendation to the general public for remark earlier than authorities does something with them.

Well being Accord: Furey tapped two veteran gamers in health-care administration — Elizabeth Davis, a retired administrator, and Dr. Pat Parfrey, a nephrologist who has been sharply important of wasteful well being spending and pointless checks and procedures — to supervise a evaluate of the health-care system.

Offshore oil: Regardless of a rising decarbonization motion and a push for financial diversification, N.L. stays depending on the royalties and jobs that stream from the offshore oil trade. Since taking workplace final August, Furey has supported utilizing taxpayer cash as incentives to maintain oil corporations lively. His authorities is hoping the dormant Terra Nova area will return into manufacturing, and that drilling will resume once more at Hibernia. Exercise offshore was dramatically scaled again within the early weeks of the pandemic.

Learn extra from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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