Lower Churchill focus of feisty debate

Dave Bartlett
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Conservative candidate says he’ll resign if promise broken

The Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce held its federal pre-election debate at St. Peter’s Parish Hall in Mount Pearl for candidates in the federal riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Tuesday. Chatting prior to the start of the debate are candidates, (from left) NDP Ryan Cleary, Conservative Loyola Sullivan and incumbent Liberal MP Siobhan Coady. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The Conservative candidate for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl put his potential political career on the line over his party’s promise on the Lower Churchill hydroelectric development.

At a candidates’ debate for the riding, hosted by the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce Tuesday evening, Loyola Sullivan said he’s so confident in Stephen Harper’s promise of a loan guarantee for the mega project, that he’ll step down if elected and if the party doesn’t keep its promise.

“If not, I will resign,” said Sullivan to cheers from supporters.

“I ask (Liberal incumbent Siobhan) Coady, will she put her job on the line on the Lower Churchill?”

NDP candidate Ryan Cleary shot back.

“Loyola Sullivan is not going to get an opportunity to resign, because he’s not going to get in,” Cleary said to laughs and applause.

Sullivan said neither of the other parties have put a loan guarantee for the project in writing.

“A vote for the Liberals or the NDP is a vote against the Lower Churchill,” he said, but this time the cheers were drowned out by boos.

Coady suggested the Liberal caucus has had the Lower Churchill on its radar for some time.

“We’ve been talking about the Lower Churchill for several months Mr. Sullivan,” she said. “If the Conservative’s were serious, they would have put it in their budget.”

Both Coady and Cleary also said Harper cannot be trusted to deliver on promises to this province, as he’s broken them before.

“We know his word is not his bond,” said Coady.

Cleary, meanwhile, used his time to tout a national energy policy which he suggested would throw open the door to Quebec’s transmission grid to Labrador power, making it cheaper to get to market.

In addition to the question on the Lower Churchill, candidates took questions on health care and the fishery before taking others from the audience, in what was a spirited debate, with partisan jabs coming from all candidates.

Sullivan blasted former Liberal governments for downloading costs of health care unto the provinces, to which Coady retorted that former Liberal governments had no choice but to do that considering the financial mess left by a former Conservative government.

“Loyola Sullivan is not going to get an opportunity to resign, because he’s not going to get in." Ryan Cleary

Candidates team up on Conservative over fishery issues … Continued from page A1

Coady suggested the country is experiencing some deja vu.

“The Harper government is the biggest spending, biggest borrowing, most (in)debted government we’ve ever had and now we’re going to have to clean up that mess,” said Coady.

Cleary, meanwhile, discussed the need for a national pharmacare plan, reducing wait times for medical tests and surgeries and help for families and seniors.

“No party is more committed to health care than the New Democrats,” he said.

Sullivan also raised the spectre of a potential coalition government made up of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois, as Harper has done at every opportunity during the campaign.

He said the Conservatives is the only party which can form a majority after May 2.

But Coady shot back that her leader Michael Ignatieff has stated unequivocally he will not form such a coalition.

While debating fisheries issues, both Coady and Cleary attacked Sullivan’s record as the country’s former fisheries ambassador, most notable that he was unable to prevent a seal product ban put in place by the European Union. Sullivan shot back that the other parties failed to support updates to the fisheries act.

The questions from the audience were on such diverse topics as the needs of children, an elected senate and the gun registry.

Sullivan challenged the other parties to admit they support the controversial registry.

“When I hear the head of the police chiefs of Canada (say) that he believes in the long gun registry because it saves lives ... I take his word for that,” said Cleary, who seemed to tread lightly around the issue.

But Coady was unapologetic for supporting the registry for the same reason Cleary cited.

“There’s nothing wrong with registering (firearms),” she said and then added to applause. “Go register your gun, it’s not that difficult.”

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NDP, Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce, Bloc Quebecois Conservatives European Union

Geographic location: Quebec, Labrador, Canada

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Recent comments

  • NLSPIRIT
    April 24, 2011 - 20:51

    This race is really gearing up to be quite the battleground... However, i don't see much choice: we have Sioban Coady, who is capable enough, but is a backbencher under ignatieff, a raging Neo-Con and self-procliamed tax and spend liberal, who is saying one thing in Quevbec and another in Newfoundland, Ryan Cleary, who plans to fix our healthcare system by scaring away even more doctors by taking money out of their taxes for more spending (+$30 billion), and Loyola Sullivan. Loyola is clearly the best choice: if elected it is nearly certain he will be selected as a cabinet member, giving a representative from newfoundland actual influence in Ottawa! How does Coady expect to bring home results when her leader, who said only HE speaks for the liberals, is off in Quebec saying the opposite of what's in Newfoundland's best interest! I might not love Harper, but at least Loyola will be able to work hard and speak up for the newfoundlanders without a voice has he done throughout his entire esteemed career!

  • fredinprincetonbc
    April 14, 2011 - 12:53

    I hope the head of the Canadian Chiefs of Police vote for Mr. Cleary, as he seems more interested in what the Chief thinks than what his constituents want. I fail to see how a rural mp can justify making all the legitimate long gun owners criminals over a useless, incomplete, and inaccurate inventory.

  • mary
    April 13, 2011 - 19:55

    How can people not see what the conservatives are doing? It truly amazes me. There is hope, however, two conservatives have resigned from their riding association in Vaughn, ON over federal funding for a health care project. They see the wrong in what has happened, where the funds are going, who the funds are going to and they know that it is about vote buying......

  • Nick
    April 13, 2011 - 17:53

    Ignatieff only said they would look at the deal and he has yet to provide a commitment in writing as Harper has done to Premier Dunderdale ---------------------------------------------------------- Harper also promised Danny that he wouldn't put our oil revenue into the equalization formula and he did it IN WRITING. How does the Conservatives get NL voters? Do they just erase your memories or what?

  • Chris
    April 13, 2011 - 17:48

    Sullivan also raised the spectre of a potential coalition government ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Harper, and his cronies like Sullivan, are a disgrace to our democratic traditions. We are NOT Americans. We do not vote for a President. We vote for our representative in Ottawa. Our Member of Parliament. A majority of our MPs, be they from one party or more, agree on a given policy and that is how our system runs. Likewise, our Prime Minister is NOT voted by the Canadian people, he or she is simply picked as the First Minister among the MPs by a majority of MPs. There is nothing wrong about a coalition government within our political system. Shame on Harper and friends for lying to the people of our country and thereby encouraging an entire generation of Canadians to be ignorant about their own institutions for their selfish gains. I don't care who wins the election. Face it, as Newfoundland and Labradorians, we will never get everything we want, we are too small. What I do care is that Harper, Sullivan, and the rest of the Conservatives are abusing a political system that our ancestors took generations to create as a way to free us from an oppressive Monarchy. It is time I think for people to stop voting party politics. They are all corrupt. And to start voting for the person who will be represent their interests in Ottawa. And by that criteria, I think its safe to say that Sullivan already doesn't fit the bill.

    • NLSPIRIT
      April 24, 2011 - 20:57

      Loyola is complaining about the credibility of coalitions in general - he's complaining about a coalition formed in the backrooms with support from the Bloc, a party which has vehemently opposed Newfoundland in its claims to resources in Labrador! We cannot trust a leader who cooperates with the Bloc, as it will lead to NL being trampled on!

  • Mel Blake
    April 13, 2011 - 16:11

    Why was there no Green party candidate at this debate? They are supposed to be running someone in each riding. Were they not allowed to attend as was done for the national leaders debate, or was the candidate simply unavailable? Given the problems Newfoundland has had with environmental mismanagement of the fisheries a Green Party candidate should be heard. Where were they?

  • nasty nate
    April 13, 2011 - 15:42

    Wake up people! How many times must you have the carrot hung in front of your faces only to have it pulled away at the last moment? Harper will not keep his word. How many times must he take back what he has stated before it sinks in with you fickle lot? Thought you were a little more on the ball than that!

  • Anon
    April 13, 2011 - 15:02

    The only way Harper will listen to us is if we have a Conservative voice. Harper may not have much time for Newfoundland, but he has even less time for Liberals and New Democrats.

  • Sheila
    April 13, 2011 - 14:53

    2008 - ABC Anyone But Conservative and in 2011 ABC- Anyone But Coady

  • robert
    April 13, 2011 - 13:45

    Here's the bottom line. Right now, Lloyla Sullivan is the best pick of the three evils. Based on the current polls, the Conservatives are ahead and most likely will the election. It is in our best interest to vote for the the Conservatives if we want patronafe dollars to help our province.

    • terry
      April 13, 2011 - 15:36

      First off all patronage is unethical,the comment shows your fiber,the harper government gave us an agreement in writing then promptly reneged.Fool me once applies.

  • Pam Frampton
    April 13, 2011 - 12:31

    Chantal: no problem!

  • Chris
    April 13, 2011 - 12:07

    People – political pundits mostly – wonder why most people don’t vote. Its debates such as this one that turn the electorate off and cause us to become disenfranchised with the whole political process....Regardless of political stripe, politicians come off as self-serving blow hards who’ll do and say anything for our votes, then turn their collective backs on us once they are in office. I don’t mean to sound too cynical, but it’s difficult to take anything these people say seriously. ...Will I vote? Yes - albeit reluctantly. When we can’t trust a thing these people say, especially when they all sound the same, it’s difficult to get excited about the political process. It’s too bad ''none of the above'' is not an option in the ballot box. Maybe then politicians will act on our behalf and cease to be so self-seving.

  • Alison
    April 13, 2011 - 11:40

    I think all of the candidates are equally unimpressive. The winner will be the one with the best campaign organisation. Cleary has help from Ottawa, Sullivan has the Dunderdale and MHA's behind him and Coady's senior campaign team are the former advisors to Roger Grimes. Two out of three campaigns still have a shot.

  • Pam Frampton
    April 13, 2011 - 11:22

    Chantal: We have coverage of the national leaders' debate on our front page today. The Telegram did cover it, it's just that not everything in our newspaper gets posted to our website. — Pam Frampton, Telegram story editor

  • Randy
    April 13, 2011 - 10:51

    Sullivan and Manning are like bad colds ,you can't seem to get rid of,untill May GOOD Riddance

  • Flag Pole
    April 13, 2011 - 10:14

    Meanwhile... didn't any else notice that none of the leader's in the national debate last night even mentioned Newfoundland and Labrador???

    • Chantal
      April 13, 2011 - 11:12

      Did you notice that the Telegram site didn't mention the national debate either? Things also not mentioned in the national debate: Manitoba, pensions, snowmobiles in Charlottetown, road repairs on Yonge Street, racism, Libya, secret "security" meetings with Washington, the sale of water, and the damage done to your garbage box by the snowplough...

    • Chantal
      April 13, 2011 - 12:28

      Sorry Pam, I was referring to the online Telegram.

  • Fintip
    April 13, 2011 - 09:45

    Forgive us if we don't believe you Mr. Sullivan. This is the same man who abandoned Newfoundland and Labrador when Mr. Harper was using it as a punching bag in 2007. In an effort to undermine Williams, Harper lured away his second-in-command with the promise of a plum fisheries ambassador appointment. The job came with a huge salary, perks and licence to circle the globe at taxpayer expense. But there was a quid pro quo. Every time Mr. Harper ordered another change in federal policies or programs to punish Newfoundlanders for daring to stand up to him, Sullivan had to stand behind him with the other Loyola (Hearn) and Fabian Manning. Not one of these three stooges was prepared then to put his job on the line for the people and province that had given them so much. Why should we believe they would do so now. Indeed the only reason Sullivan and Manning have temporarily stepped down from their jobs is the knowledge that if the voters in their ridings say no, Harper will re-appoint them immediately. Ignatieff and Layton keep asking Harper where he will find billions of dollars for the overpriced jets, the corporate tax cuts, and the new mega prisons in his platform. Well, if history is any indicator, he could steal a lot of it from the non-renewable resource revenues belonging to this province. And Sullivan and Manning would still be there to help sell another Con job to the folks back home. If there is a God, voters will not only say no to Sullivan and Manning but also to Harper so that there are no jobs to go back to. Then the two could spend their mornings sipping soup at Tim Horton's comparing their last pogey checks and reminiscing about the good old days when they could dine at the best restuarants at our expense.

  • Gerry Connors
    April 13, 2011 - 09:42

    Ah yeah, the long gun registry where my family & friends in the election in another riding to the east campaigned & voted for a candidate who PROMISED to vote against the long-gun resistry....but as soon as he got to Ottawa he did what his political lieberal master ORDERED him to do: he:humbly & quietly voted for the long the registry; guareenteed he'll lose a good many votes this time around...democracy at its best....as for the long-gun registry, yeah, go see the gansters, mafios, gang-bangers, druggies all registering their weapons...

  • Jim
    April 13, 2011 - 09:06

    Ryan Cleary seems to be the one that will fight for Newfoundland and Labrador. He got my vote!

  • Duggan
    April 13, 2011 - 08:46

    When Cleary loses the race he will probably quit the NDP again like he did 6 months ago. My vote goes to Sullivan.

  • Jordan
    April 13, 2011 - 08:42

    I think this is quite the race. People who pay attention to politics would know that Siobhan Coady has created quite the profile for herself in Ottawa, she is a strong very candidate. Then there's Loyola Sullivan, he's well respected and has an impressive career in provincial politics. Both would represent the province well and it's a shame they both cannot be in Ottawa. Then there's Ryan Cleary, the annoying socialist. If you listened to him during his days as nightline host I cannot imagine you'd be in your right mind if you cast a ballot for him.

  • Record of Achievement
    April 13, 2011 - 08:34

    Political promises are cheap. Let's talk about the various candidate's records of achievement. Mr. Cleary was part of an independent newspaper and talk show but has neither anymore. Ms. Coady has been MP for over 2 years but has made little impact on public policy to date. Mr. Sullivan was with danny Williams when the Province rightfully got its $2 billion from Ottawa only to be punished for it later. Since Kathy Dunderdale endorses the Harper Conservatives and Loyola lived through an injustice after securing what is rightfully ours, Loyola Sullivan as Conservative MP is the best choice for Newfoundland. Newfoundland is back at the table according to the Premier and Sullivan knows the file we were screwed on.

    • NLSPIRIT
      April 24, 2011 - 20:55

      Absolutely! Loyola has a career defined by his determined efforts to give Newfoundlanders what they deserve from their government.

  • Thompson
    April 13, 2011 - 08:06

    The Liberal candidate says that the lower churchill project has been on their agenda for some time. Then why did they wait to make a committment to NL only after Stephen Harper did? Ignatieff came to town and basically said he would promise the same as Harper and nothing more. He said we shouldn't bel;ive Harper but why should we belive him when he can't even come up with his own promises for Newfoundland and Labrador?

    • Jordan
      April 13, 2011 - 08:33

      Ignatieff never waited till Harper came to town, he had stated a while back that the Liberals would provide a loan guarantee.

    • James
      April 13, 2011 - 08:49

      Ignatieff only said they would look at the deal and he has yet to provide a commitment in writing as Harper has done to Premier Dunderdale

    • Red
      April 13, 2011 - 12:23

      So James would you commit to billions of dollars on something that you haven't seen any specific numbers on? We here in the province who are going to be paying for it haven't even seen the numbers so how can we be all for it? Maybe if the dictatorship running the province today would give up the numbers on this project then everyone could have an educated opinion, instead of falling for the promise of jobs as we do time and time again.

  • A true blue PROGRESSIVE conservative
    April 13, 2011 - 08:05

    Loyola is a good guy, but he's running for the wrong party. Anyone planning to vote conservative is forgetting Harper's treatment of this province. The conservatives are not the PC's that we are all familiar with, they are a very different beast. A vote for that party is a vote against NL's interests.

  • Arnie Mintz
    April 13, 2011 - 07:33

    Lower Churchill or no Lower Churchill, the Tea Party North will still treat us (the Canadian people) with comtempt.

  • Greg
    April 13, 2011 - 07:33

    If Siobhan Coady is the self-described "hardest working Member of Parliament in Ottawa", why is this even a contest? Because she is the one who created that statement and is the only person who believes it. Neither Ms. Coady or anyone else can point to a single accomplishment she has delivered to St. John's. I challenge your readers and the Telegram to re[ply and name one project or issue of public concern she has won for Newfoundland.

    • Stephen
      April 13, 2011 - 16:55

      MP Coady tried to save a lighthouse at Cape Spear until Randy Simms on VOCM told her she was trying to save the wrong building! I laughed so hard tears rolled down my face!!

  • McManus
    April 13, 2011 - 07:26

    Sullivan is a has been and Coady is a gasbag. Let's give the other feller a try.

  • Frank M
    April 13, 2011 - 07:20

    I watched last night's debate and offer the following observations to cut through the rhetoric and muck: Coady stated that NL cannot trust Harper because of what he did on offshore oil. True, but Coady and Ignatieff complained about it and then voted to support the Budget that enacted it. Worse, they have done nothing about the injustice since. Mr. Cleary did not offer one single policy that would benefit St. John's or Mount Pearl. He touted the national NDP program (in fairness the NDP has committed to undo the Offshore oil royalty inclusion from Equalization). Mr. Sullivan's only strength was the fact it will likely be another Conservative government (minority or majority to be determined) and that he would be a strong voice at that table from which we are currently excluded. Really, not much to choose from: Coady a complainer who supports the government that caused our problem. Cleary, a sometime journalist who crticised or abandoned his NDP party twice in the past 2 years. Or Sullivan, whose greatest strength is he is the candidate whose party will likely form the government. Maybe we should just stay home and elect no one, given the choice of these 3.