Deputy mayor Shannie Duff said she was surprised by NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s endorsement of Coun. Sheilagh O’Leary for mayor of St. John’s.
Speaking to The Telegram during a tour of the Bay Bulls Big Pond water treatment facility — for a regional initiative to promote water conservation — Duff said she sees the endorsement as being unusual. Municipal politics in Newfoundland and Labrador, she said, typically remains a non-partisan affair.
Duff said she personally avoids fundraisers of all parties so as not to associate herself with one over another. “It could cost,” she said of associating with a particular party.
“I mean you have your own opinions, you vote whatever way you like, but I thought I’ve never heard before of an official endorsement. I imagine there’ll be some chit chat about that at the council meeting tonight.”
Asked about sitting mayor Dennis O’Keefe: “I don’t know if Dennis is running,” Duff said.
For her part, O’Leary has laughed off the endorsement, saying she has yet to make any decision on her mayoral candidacy.
In his speech at a Saturday night NDP fundraiser, Mulcair referred to O’Leary as, “one of the most extraordinary politicians I’ve met in a long time.”
“I promise you I’ll be back, of course, many times to Newfoundland and Labrador, but I’ll really promise you I’ll be back to make sure that Sheilagh O’Leary is the next mayor of St. John’s,” he said.
The next mayoral election for the City of St. John’s will be elected in 2013.