Contenders can't run in Carbonear-Harbour Grace byelection

James McLeod
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If either Cathy Bennett, Paul Antle or Danny Dumaresque wins the Liberal leadership Nov. 17, they may be waiting a while for a seat in the House of Assembly.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale recognized that three of the five Liberal leadership contenders don’t have a seat in the House, so she offered to help them out.

When Jerome Kennedy resigned earlier this month, Dunderdale said she wouldn’t call the Carbonear-Harbour Grace byelection until after the Liberals wrapped up their leadership race.

“Strategically, politically, it might be better for us to go early, but I don’t think that’s what the province would want,” Dunderdale said last week. “We will wait and give the new leader — if it’s not a person who currently has a seat in the House of Assembly — an opportunity to run in Carbonear-Harbour Grace.”

But on Tuesday, the Liberals’ message to Dunderdale was, thanks but no thanks.

The party called nominations for the Carbonear-Harbour Grace byelection, virtually assuring that somebody locally will carry the flag for the party, as opposed to Antle, Bennett or Dumaresque.

Dumaresque said he would have run in the seat if the party had held off on calling nominations.

“If, in fact, the seat was open and the nomination was still open and I was the leader, then as leader I would run,” he said.

Antle also said if he’s elected as Liberal leader, he’ll run in the first available byelection, and that would have been Carbonear-Harbour Grace.

“I really want to win and become the next leader of the Liberal party, so all of my effort and all of my focus has to be on that. I can’t get distracted right in the middle with a byelection,” he said. “But as leader, I want to get into the House as soon as I can after Nov. 17.”

Antle said the party didn’t consult with him before calling nominations.

“They didn’t ask me about timing, they didn’t ask me about anything. They just did this on their own,” he said.

All three candidates said they can’t get sidetracked with the nominations right now, because all the focus is on the leadership campaign.

“Our focus and my focus has to be around the race that I’m running right now,” Bennett said. “When I cross this hurdle, then I’ll focus on the next hurdle, which is getting into the House of Assembly as quickly as I can to represent the people of the province.”

If the Liberals had held off on calling nominations until after the Nov. 17 leadership convention, it likely would have opened up the opportunity for Antle, Bennett or Dumaresque to run there, if one of them won the contest.

Liberal party president Judy Morrow wouldn’t explain why the party wouldn’t go that route, except to say she won’t take her cues from Dunderdale.

“With the greatest respect, the premier doesn’t set the timelines for nominations in the Liberal party,” Morrow said. “I’m not going to make any further comment. We’ve rolled out this one with the same procedure as we have every other nomination since I’ve been president. We’ve consulted with all the appropriate parties.”

Carbonear mayor and fisherman Sam Slade and Olympic gold medallist Jamie Korab have said they  plan to seek the nomination.

Nominations close Oct. 22.

Geographic location: Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • Greg
    October 17, 2013 - 05:33

    Mr McLeod, I just had a while thought, Why don't your paper put out a question to the people, concerning this guy from the west coast, by the name of Charles Murphy, Ask the people do they think he should run in the district of Carbonera and Harbour Grace. for MHA. See what the people may say.

  • Dianne
    October 17, 2013 - 04:58

    I think the liberals should invite Mr Murphy from the west coast to run in my district, Because I feel this man can, build our community's. at the same time show ours young people they still have a future here. I know this man isn't from our district, but he still a Newfoundlanders, who has a vision for the people, that what we need right now. No disrespect to Sam or Jamie. but we need a builder.

  • Pauline
    October 17, 2013 - 04:39

    See the Liberals party isn't about the people, its about the party. If the once time great liberal party of the people was still there, today we would had a choice. But that was taking away on July 5/2013. By Judy Morrow. Nothing going to change until the people stand up for their right. Liberal are going to lose this byelection, in Carbonear - Harbour Grace. All because of the provincial liberal leadership. where they are always talking about the PCS not been honest with the people. Just look at the liberal party Transparency on spending, concerning the race, Tell who honest or dishonest.

  • Joey
    October 16, 2013 - 20:34

    For those of you who think the grass will be greener with the Liberals please pay close attention to this article. It's obvious the party executive and potential leaders are miles apart and seemingly do not even communicate. Not a great sign. Have a look around the Carbonear Harbour Grace district and the progress that has been made in the last few years, brand new school, long term care facility and stadium on the way. Mayor Slade is saying let's make it about the people obviously he is spending too much blindly criticizing instead of paying attention to what the PC government has done for this area.

  • Ben
    October 16, 2013 - 20:11

    Looks like Dwight is still calling the shots! Ball was in St Johns all last week and set up the date for the bi election. Guess he sees that Bennett and Antle are close on his tails.

  • Strickland
    October 16, 2013 - 09:08

    This is more of the same lack of organization by the Executive Board of the Liberal party. The same ones who James McLeod correctly noted did not put in any spending limits or financial accountability requirements whatsoever for this leadership contest. The system as it stands for this leadership allows for special interests to have influence without accountability. And then they do something like this. Hopefully, after a new leader is chosen the Liberal party will seek a new Executive Board and Official opposition office staff.

  • good one judy
    October 16, 2013 - 08:46

    what more infighting in Fiberal Party NL; surprise surprise what kind of outfit wouldnt give possible leader chance to get in HOA; da Fiberal Party.....of course i guess all party exec. behind DBall why would they do this and cut legs off from Antle or Dummersque

  • tony
    October 16, 2013 - 08:21

    What a joke. She obviously doesn't want either of the three to have the seat - otherwise it is just plain dumb to call nominations when you could have an even stronger candidate by waiting.

  • Dolf
    October 16, 2013 - 08:20

    The Liberals are in a no-win situation with those two candidates. In interviews neither answered a single question.

  • Madge
    October 16, 2013 - 08:02

    Judy morrow lol