Federal MPs ready for provincial campaign

Steve Bartlett
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Several ready to help on hustings

Gerry Byrne — File Photo/ The Telegram

Many opposition election candidates are getting some help from their federal friends.

A number of MPs say they plan to hit the hustings with their provincial counterparts during the impending provincial election campaign.

Liberal Judy Foote and New Democratic Ryan Cleary aren’t waiting for the writ to drop. They’ve been out already.

“I have knocked on doors with almost all of the candidates (in my district) in the evenings or on the weekends or whatever,” said Cleary, MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl.

The participation of provincial politicians in a federal election campaign has generated controversy in recent years, especially after the 2008 Anything But Conservative (ABC) campaign saw provincial Tories, including current Premier Kathy Dunderdale, campaigning for federal Liberals.

The involvement of federal MPs in a provincial vote hasn’t been a bone of public contention. It’s been happening for a long time, though, and the 2011 election won’t be any different.

The Telegram asked the province’s seven MPs about their plans for the run-up to the Oct. 11 election.

Four — three Liberals and one NDP — responded. They all plan on being involved, each of them implying it helps them reconnect with constituents.

Foote said there was no reluctance to help some of the hopefuls, even though she had just been through a federal election a few months ago.

“I’m a born campaigner. I like what I do,” the MP for Random-Burin-St. George’s said.

Her colleague, Gerry Byrne, noted there is a limited opposition in the House of Assembly and, by getting involved in the campaign, he’s hoping to spur debate on provincial matters needing attention, issues such as the Lower Churchill, the provision of health care and the standoff between the government and independent pharmacy owners.

“This is nothing that Premier Kathy Dunderdale doesn’t agree with,” the Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP quipped. “She gets involved in federal election campaigns to allow debate to occur. And I intend to follow her lead.”

Fellow Liberal Scott Simms, who represents Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor, said he plans to spend a day or half-day campaigning with four candidates in his riding.

He said his schedule prevents him from doing more.

His motivation is to help his provincial counterparts, something he’s done for the past couple of elections.

Foote hopes the respect voters have shown her over her career in provincial and federal politics helps garner support.

Most of the MPs lauded the quality of the provincial candidates.

Foote and Cleary both said the people they’ve been supporting are getting favourable reaction at the door.

When knocking on doors, Cleary explained, he introduces himself, as the MP, and then the candidate.

He noted there’s still a momentum from the NDP’s performance in May’s federal election.

“People are still excited about it,” he said. “People talk about Jack Layton, and they offer their regrets, but people still feel the energy and they talk about the energy and say it’s time for change. That’s the message I’m getting at the door.”

Foote hopes her efforts during the campaign lead to more Liberals in the House of Assembly. No doubt her Liberal colleagues feel the same way.

Cleary, who has also campaigned with candidates outside his riding, believes his party will see the most gains.

“An NDP minority government,” he predicts.



Twitter: bartlett_steve

Organizations: NDP

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Recent comments

    September 18, 2011 - 20:10

    OK it should have been Trinity-Bay de Verde but often we think of this area as North in Trinity Bay.

  • private citizen
    September 18, 2011 - 17:07

    I know one district where no Liberal MP helped out in 2007 and that was in Grand Falls-Windsor -Green Bay South .No MP showed his nose though one promised to do so.In fact even Gerry Reid did next to nothing for the candidate .The candidate never got a dime from the Party either .He was totally on his own .I know I worked with him.

  • KD
    September 17, 2011 - 16:00

    The liberals would be better of if they kept the likes of Byrne,Grimes,etc out of the picture, also their policy on retireing fishermen stinks I work in the public sector have to look after my own pension or have none at all. The majority of nlers are not fishermen and couldn`t care less about the fishermen and handouts the liberals tried in the past to put fish plants in every community see how well that worked out and now the ndp are also jumping on that wagon wonder what they are smoking

    September 17, 2011 - 15:01

    All we need in Trinity North is an ABC campaign. Anyone but Charlene.

    • sam
      September 17, 2011 - 21:43

      I dont think you know what district you are in disillusioned!! Its Trinity - Bay de Verde for Charlene Johnson.

  • Your taxes at work
    September 17, 2011 - 12:51

    I would keep away from those guys and gals. Judy did the job on the Burin Grand Bank area. Now the reast are coming back to finish the job off. I guess they have to do something to waste out tax dollars,as they will be next to useless for the next four years.

  • Randy
    September 17, 2011 - 12:44

    What's good for the goose is good for the Gander--Isn't that right Madam Premier??? As for Ryan Cleary,,He's in la la land, trying to get material for a good newspaper article..Why doesn't Dunderdale ask her freind Harper or Panasue to come and help out???? Remenber the back to the future movie when Micheal J Fox got mad when he was called Chicken-??Too bad Dunderdale doesn't have the backbone to get mad

    • Andy
      September 18, 2011 - 10:00

      You mean like how Danny, Dunderdale and all the other PCs campaigned for the Liberals in round one against Harper. Aparently it's not politicians that short memories, or is selective memories.

  • Dave
    September 17, 2011 - 12:06

    Gerry might as well campaign here seeing his party is obsolete in Ottawa now.

  • They gotta do something
    September 17, 2011 - 10:25

    The Liberals got to get involved. They were crushed at the Federal level and if that trend continues at the provincial levels then they risk becoming extinct.

    • Dave
      September 18, 2011 - 20:41

      Yeah they only won the largest share of votes and seats in NL in the 2011 federal election Totally crushed.

  • howie
    September 17, 2011 - 10:01

    one question for the MP's regardless of party ,"who is paying these people and their travel expenses"? I WOULD SAY THE TAX PAYER . those candidates who are seeking election are not being paid except for the cabinet ministers who have to take care of their portfolios during the election. How much expense are those MP using to help their buddies get elected . Think about it and listen to the word corrupt.

  • Graham
    September 17, 2011 - 07:45

    The farther away they can keep Motor Mouth Byrne the better. Silent on Marine Atlantic these days Gerry. Theres more hot air and wind from Byrne than any hurricane we will ever get.

  • Jordan
    September 17, 2011 - 07:36

    Only a few weeks ago Ryan Cleary said he was hoping for a PC minority.

  • Jim Power
    September 17, 2011 - 07:31

    I'm trying to figure out what space ship Ryan Cleary landed in. N.D.P.minority gov. He's a dreamer,They will be lucky to hold on to the [O N E ] seat they have