ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Liberal Premier Andrew Furey was re-elected Saturday in Newfoundland and Labrador's pandemic-delayed election.
Furey, 45, is an orthopedic surgeon who entered politics last year, but he comes from a political family. His father, George Furey, is the current Speaker of the Senate in Ottawa, and his uncle was a provincial cabinet minister.
In 2010, Andrew Furey helped create Team Broken Earth to provide medical relief after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He was later named humanitarian of the year by the Canadian Red Cross.
His political life has been short but eventful. He was elected leader of the province's Liberal party last August and was sworn in as premier later that month. On Oct. 6, 2020, he was elected as the member for the Humber-Gros Morne district in a byelection.
With the province facing towering financial struggles, including the highest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the country, Furey adopted a strategy of assembling teams of leaders from across the province to tackle issues such as boosting tourism, improving health care and tackling the debt.
"We have come to a time in our history when the road ahead is a little foggy, perilous no doubt" he said in his victory speech Saturday. "But if we are bold now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change the trajectory of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Furey ran a safe campaign, making low-stakes promises and staying far away from the heated debate about the delayed election's management. Still, he didn't escape scrutiny.
After he resumed his attendance at the province's public health briefings when a COVID-19 outbreak erupted in early February, Furey was back in the line of fire. Sitting next to chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, he was regularly pelted with questions from reporters asking that he justify his decision to call an election on Jan. 15, in the midst of a global pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2021.
The Canadian Press