NDP caucus asks Michael for leadership review

James McLeod
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Kirby says MHAs respect leader, but party needs renewal

New Democrat MHA Dale Kirby said Monday all four NDP MHAs respect Lorraine Michael, but they think it might be best for the party to review whether she’s the best choice for leader.

Lorraine Michael

Kirby, George Murphy, Gerry Rogers and Christopher Mitchelmore sent a letter to Michael on Sunday asking for a leadership convention in 2014.

“As members of the Caucus, we recognize your significant contributions to the Party and its growth in support since your election as leader in 2006, including the historic results of the 2011 Provincial General Election,” says the letter, obtained by The Tele­gram. “With two years remaining before the next scheduled Provincial General Election in 2015, we believe that a Leadership Convention in 2014 is critical if there is to be party renewal and growth in support for the New Democratic Party in Newfoundland and Lab­ra­dor.”

Kirby spoke to The Telegram Monday evening after Michael did an interview on CBC News, saying she felt “betrayed” and under attack by a “small dissenting group” within the party.

Kirby said that while he respects what Michael has done for the party, the letter is the result of widespread dissatisfaction with her leadership.

“All I can really base my own observations on is what I hear. I’ve knocked on a little more than 2,000 doors in my own district since the last election, and I have made myself publicly available to people,” Kirby said. “I’m certainly in contact with members of our party on a regular basis. I think people are interested in a renewal process.”

The letter was sent to Michael on Sunday after she returned from vacation. She had been gone for about a month, visiting India.

After flirting with first place in the polls, the NDP dropped to second, eight points behind the Liberal party, in the most recent polling done by Corporate Research Associates.

Several party members, speaking to The Telegram on the condition of anonymity, talked about problems with Michael’s leadership.

A repeated complaint was that it’s difficult to recruit candidates for the party because people don’t believe Michael is able to win the next election.

Kirby said he believes the party needs to consider who’s the best to revitalize their position, and win the next election.

“My own hope is that there would be an open leadership contest, because there is no mechanism right now for having a leadership review in the party,” he said. “If Lorraine wanted to contest the leadership, she certainly could.”

Kirby said it’s unfortunate this is all occurring in public.

“We did not intend for this to be a public document, and it was read out on the air on CBC (Monday), but as far as I know, from talking to my colleagues, none of us provided that to anyone in the media,” he said. “This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Lorraine Michael in any way. We are effusive in our praise of her work, her record, and we certainly respect that. It’s nothing personal. This was about moving the party forward in a way that would put us in the most advantageous position leading into the next election. It’s unfortunate that it’s been portrayed as something other than that.”



Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: New Democratic Party, CBC, Leadership Convention Newfoundland and Lab

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Recent comments

  • grammar lesson
    November 05, 2013 - 11:50

    "... Kirby spoke to The Telegram Monday evening after Michael did an interview on CBC News, saying she felt “betrayed” and under attack by a “small dissenting group” within the party..." No comma after CBC News, unless Kirby is a she.

  • Nina
    October 23, 2013 - 00:14

    George Murphy and Gerri Rogers at the time of you being elected, I was so delighted for you guys and the NDP. Gerri you for the common person in society and the ones that really need to be heard from. George you for basically the same reasons. But I am so disappointed in you guys there had to be a better way for four people to talk to a party leader than through a letter after a month absence. Kirby and Mitchamore I do not know you and I have no desire to. I have all the faith in Lorraine Micheal and the NDP .

  • Jay
    October 22, 2013 - 19:54

    The NDP Party amazes me. They complain incessantly about Bill 29 and the people's right to know. But when they quietly stab their leader in the back, they complain because the public finds out. I'm sure they'll repel Bill29 (HAHAHA)

  • Brian
    October 22, 2013 - 16:44

    Kirby is full of it . I hope people were wearing long rubbers while listening to his interview. This man is not to be trusted , to think that he would do this to the leader of the NDP shows that he is a snake in the grass.

  • Wonder if
    October 22, 2013 - 15:41

    Wonder if this request has to do with the NDP losing so big in NS.

  • René Enguehard
    October 22, 2013 - 14:17

    Such a lame excuse....Renewal???? I know that politics has short memory but come on....you get a couple of years in and suddenly you need to renew... The best thing that the NDP party of NL could do for its own sake is get rid of parasites like D. Kirby

    October 22, 2013 - 13:48

    I have been saying it for a couple of years now. Lorraine has been a great asset to the NDP Party, but like most things in life, there is a best before date. Thanks for all you have done Lorraine, but your expiry date is up.

  • Stewart
    October 22, 2013 - 13:05

    Hi I wish the bleeding would stop. Stop the insanity before the NDP falls apart. We are being laughed at. This is fodder for Dunderdale and the Liberals.

  • Bibbie from NL
    October 22, 2013 - 12:15

    Of couse Mr. Kirby didn't want it out in the public because then no one would realize how as members you are no different then members of other parties. All tarred with the same brush. I guess Mr. Kirby is looking to be the next NDP party leader and didn't want it leaked because that would put a negative spin on the party. Thank God someone leaked it so then the public can see you all for what you really are like. Ever since Mr. Muclair took over as leader, in my opinion he wants a new leader down in NL too. So while you are praising Lorraine Michael on the other side, you are stabbing her in the back. Don't give into them Lorraine, Jack Harris was there and only managed to get one seat besides his own. You are after doing way better and in the people's eye, very, very popular.

  • Eve
    October 22, 2013 - 12:04

    How does it feel to stab your leader in the back Gerry Rogers? Michaels may not have the popular rating right now "but" she IS one of your own for Gawd Sakes!!!

  • Jack
    October 22, 2013 - 11:45

    Look out below....here come the NDP! Move over Blunderdale!

  • Tommy
    October 22, 2013 - 10:18

    I'm no fan of the NDP but I have to say that the actions of the Kirby, Rogers, Murphy, and Mitchelmore are rather low.. They never even had the guts to speak to Michael, but rather sent it in an email. Please! Give me a break! Furthermore, the records of these 4 are hardly noteworthy. I don't recall Rogers speaking on any issue inside or outside of the House.. I don’t recall any of them speaking on Muskrat Falls issue. The only thing I recall from Murphy is some sort of proposal about traffic safety... The only thing i recall from Kirby is something about closing Public Libraries, which by the way are never used anymore anyway due to technology (internet). as for Mitchellmore, I never heard of him.. And these people have the nerve to question Michael's record??? They just shot themselves in the foot... Serious miscalculation folks.

  • Duggan
    October 22, 2013 - 10:01

    We used to think the NDP was really quite different from the other political parties but we were wrong. stabbed a senior citizen and former Nun in the back for their own hopes and aspirations.

  • Maggy Carter
    October 22, 2013 - 09:05

    I'm not a fan of the NDP but I do have some respect for Lorraine Michaels as a person. She exudes a level of honesty and genuineness that is in stark contrast, for example, to that of our premier. Her personal likability probably accounts for the relative strong showing of the NDP in recent years. With that in mind, I find it extraordinary that her four colleagues in the House would so publicly attack her leadership. Even if they felt a change was necessary, surely they could have arranged to meet with her face to face. They had to know that their email eviction notice would immediately become public. No, this shows terrible judgement and - no matter how it plays out - they will have done serious damage to their own party. Mind you, the NDP had already demonstrated they are not a viable alternative to Dunderdale in that they have embraced her fiscally irresponsible policies. That leaves the Liberal party - presumably under the leadership of Dwight Ball - as the obvious go-to party in 2015.

  • Picky
    October 22, 2013 - 08:40

    This reminds me of the 1960's song by the O'Jays titled "backstabbers". This should be their theme song.

  • What-a-Bunch
    October 22, 2013 - 07:43

    If it wasn't for Lorraine Michael those 4 would never have became members of the House Of Assembly. George Murphy should be kissing her arse, instead of back stabbing. He ran a few elections back as a Liberal and was unsuccessful. Then he decides to become part of the NDP party and wins the first election he runs in under the orange banner. I believe he owes her a debt of gratitude. Under her leadership, she help take him from driving a taxi to a nice high paying job on Confederation Hill. Same goes for Gerry Rogers and the other two. Bunch of cowards. They have the most popular opposition leader in Canada and the party is in the best position they have ever been in politically and the want her to step down. It's ridiculous and total underhandedness, if you ask me.

  • Kurtz
    October 22, 2013 - 07:35

    You send an email like that and don't think it would get "out there?" What a preposterous assumption. Face it, you handled this poorly and will face consequences, not the least of which the loss of respect of the people who (once) supported you.