Province left out of federal Liberal letter to supporters
Liberal MP Gerry Byrne — File photo
Liberal MP Gerry Byrne apologized Wednesday on behalf of his party for an electronic letter that supporters received from Leader Bob Rae with a coast-to-coast reference ending at Peggy’s Cove, N.S.
One Newfoundland Liberal supporter wrote on the party’s website she is appalled that Newfoundland and Labrador is wiped off the party’s map in the missive, especially considering the number of federal Liberal supporters here. Longtime Humber St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP Byrne is one of four federal Liberal MPs from the province.
The letter was sent to supporters and first-time donors who gave money to the party and helped the party start 1,004,750 conversations in its Million Conversations Campaign.
“Twelve days ago I asked you to imagine this moment. I asked you to imagine that, as daylight peeked out over Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, and began its journey across the country all the way to Tofino, British Columbia, we would be able to start a million conversations with Canadians in 2012,” reads the letter.
“You don’t need to imagine anymore. I asked you for a holiday miracle and you made it happen. … And this is how we will get competitive with the Conservatives, identify voters, fundraise millions more each year, and grow the Liberal movement.”
The party’s error is inexcusable, Byrne said.
“The frustration and sense of lack of inclusion others have said is not only echoed by me but doubled,” he said Wednesday when contacted about Rae’s electronic letter obtained by The Telegram from a Liberal supporter.
“I share the point of view it was that language using Peggy’s Cove as a starting point is not acceptable. It does not reflect the views of Bob Rae.”
Byrne said the letters are just rolling out and he expects to get complaints.
He said the mistake will be corrected and Rae was made aware of the error Wednesday. Byrne said he’s comfortable that Rae didn’t write the letter and likely didn’t review it either, as it’s one among thousands of correspondence sent out with his name on it.
But Byrne said that is no excuse for the party’s mistake.
Byrne said he’s among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who don’t like being left out of coast -to- coast references.
He said such geographical ignorance doesn’t reflect the values of the Liberal Party of Canada.
“We’re very much a part of this country in fact,” Byrne said.
“What matters to me is measures have to be taken to ensure it never happens again … You’ll get no excuses out of me. You’ll only get a sincere apology on behalf of all of us and an assurance that this won’t be allowed to happen again. Whether it was an administrative matter inside the office or as a result of a web management company that we may have contracted, whatever the cause, that’s not material.”
Rae was in Winnipeg for a news conference with Wheat Board directors and farmers Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.