NDP Leader Alison Coffin released this statement today in reaction to news from the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health that community spread of COVID-19 is now a reality in this province:
"Like everyone else in the province, I am concerned by this news, and wish nothing but the very best for the people who have contracted COVID-19 and their families. Nobody tries either to catch or to spread this virus, and I would echo the CMOH's request for us to be kind.
"I am deeply concerned by the fact that we are hearing this news five days before the official election date. While a significant number of people in the province have voted, most have not, and I worry that fear of community spread will keep them at home.
"On Day One of this election, we had strong criticisms for the Liberals for the timing of the call. There was no need to call a mid-winter pandemic election. We could, under the letter of the law, have waited until August.
"Now we are faced with people who cannot vote because they are in self-isolation and others who will choose not to vote despite the best precautions of Elections NL staff.
"I call on the Liberal leader to apologize to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the potential harm he and his party have caused for democracy in this province.
"I would remind everyone else that, as the NDP has been saying, this election is about choices. People should still vote, and they can choose to not vote for a party that put blatant political self-interest above the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."