‘I betrayed Lorraine,’ George Murphy admits

James
James McLeod
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Controversy came from ‘politically inexperienced’ caucus, Michael says

New Democrat MHA George Murphy says he made a huge mistake signing a letter that called for NDP Leader Lorraine Michael to resign.

New Democrat MHA George Murphy says he made a mistake when he signed a letter that called Lorraine Michael’s leadership into question.

Murphy said he thought he was calling for a party leadership review.

He said he wanted the party to “come together and, I guess, give that ringing endorsement to Lorraine Michael.”

Instead, he said he didn’t sleep Monday night after the news broke, and he’s tormented by the turmoil that his party is now facing.

“I’m feeling like I betrayed Lorraine, and that wasn’t the intent,” he said. “It was a mistake, and that’s all I can say about it.”

All four NDP MHAs signed a letter sent to Michael Sunday, calling for a leadership convention in 2014 to review her leadership.

“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,” the letter said, bearing Murphy’s signature alongside those of Christopher Mitchelmore, Gerry Rogers and Dale Kirby. “We collectively make this request out of genuine concern for our Party’s ability to attract quality candidates and build on our level of public support in advance of the 2015 election.”

On Monday, after word of the letter broke, MHA Dale Kirby said that he was passing along concerns about Michael’s leadership that he’s hearing from NDP rank-and-file members, as well as constituents in his district.

But by Tuesday morning, some of his comrades were backtracking.

MHA Gerry Rogers said she signed the letter because she felt that a leadership review is a healthy thing for the party to do from time-to-time.

But she said that on further reflection, sending the letter was a mistake.

“We didn’t handle this well. It was really clumsy,” Rogers said. “I wish we had done it another way.”

Rogers said she’s heard from New Democrats who support Michael, and also party members who question her leadership.

“I’m hearing people who are really strong supporters of Lorraine and feel that she has taken this party to where it is today, and I’m hearing from people the same thing, but that now it’s time for a change,” Rogers said.

Personally, she said she doesn’t know if Michael is the best leader for the NDP right now.

“At this point, I don’t know,” she said. “This is the work that we have to do.”

Rogers said she hopes party members and caucus members will spend their time discussing things and decide whether there’s a need for a leadership review.

“We’re now into 2013. It’s been seven years. And it’s necessary and healthy for parties to have reviews,” she said.

As for Michael, she said receiving the letter hurt, because it felt like her four caucus members snuck up on her.

“I felt betrayed by the letter,” she said. “There’d been no lead-up to it.”

She said she felt that when it was sent to her, it was a mistake. Instead, she said the caucus should have sat down and talked with her.

“We have people who are politically inexperienced. Two years is not enough to learn everything about how to run a caucus and how you be a caucus,” Michael said. “I think a mistake was made.”

On the other hand, Michael said she sees no failure in leadership on her own part.

“I do not feel failure. I feel sadness over this, because I’m not sure where it’s all coming from,” she said. “I can’t see what I could have done to stop the letter from happening, because it’s not dealing with anything concrete. Like, it’s not telling me anything to do with our ongoing work here.”

One of the mysteries of the saga is who leaked the letter to the media. One source informed The Telegram of its existence Sunday, before Michael even received it.

Michael said only six people knew of its existence — herself, the four MHAs who signed it, and the NDP party president who was CC’d on the email.

Murphy said knowing that one of those people leaked it to the media is hard to swallow.

“That was absolutely insulting to me,” he said. “That crushed me.”

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: New Democratic Party, Leadership Convention

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • O My
    October 23, 2013 - 13:06

    This tribe wants to form a government? Really!! Murphy can you see yourself being a minister of the crown? NOT..Didn’t know what you were signing…Really!! LOL

  • J. Murray
    October 23, 2013 - 12:35

    The party needs a leadership review, and a new leader, put inject the party with new ideas & a vision for the party and the province. I do not get excited when I listen to Ms. Michael, she may be a good MHA, but she has no new ideas, vision, or appeal to the voter to elect as the next premier; the leader has to excite the voter to win the election, Lorraine does not have that excitability factor. As to the bump in the polls, that has all to do with the poor leadership of the current government.

  • Fred
    October 23, 2013 - 12:19

    Does anyne honestly believe Lorainne Michael would ever be Premier. Honestly. Not gonna happen. Were I an NDP MHA or member of the party I would be asking for a leadership review as well.....

  • Jack
    October 23, 2013 - 11:47

    Just saying, its not that easy when Dale Kirby uses threats, intimidation, abuse, or other Coercive Power tactics on his fellow NDP MHA brothers and sisters if he didn't get his way. However, George Murphy should be held accountable for being a "Groupthinker" where he suppressed his own judgement and went alongside Dale Kirby's evil ways in order to maintain uniformity. Just as "Groupthink" is responsible for Halifax's "concert gate" scandal, the Vietnam War failures, and NASA's infamous Challenger Disaster of 1986, it will be responsible for the end of Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP. To prevent what happened to the NL NDP from ever happening again, every single MHA, city council, or town council member should be required to take courses on Organizational Behaviour, including important topics such as power and politics, French and Raven's Five Sources of Power, and more importantly, Lord Acton's law of power. Lessons learned from the NDP is that according to Lord Acton's law, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely", and Dale Kirby will soon learn that hard lesson if he doesn't stop abusing it for his personal gain.

  • max
    October 23, 2013 - 11:43

    George Murphy wanted the party to ' come together I guess........' and the intention was not to betray Lorraine Michael. That was exactly the intent Mr. Murphy and now everyone is sorry but sorry for the wrong reason , that being the betrayal letter being made public. I never thought the sanctimonious political Left were capable of acting like this. I am so disillusioned. NOT!

  • Edgar Hatery
    October 23, 2013 - 11:00

    Incompetent Bunglers; and this is the team that proposes to run the country?

  • neil
    October 23, 2013 - 10:59

    cowards, they didn't have the courage to face her and talk to her about how they felt, it has to be hurtful to ms Michael, maybe they should talk before they type

  • steady waters
    October 23, 2013 - 10:57

    I think there must be covert liberals amongst the party. The damage is now done, a leadership review would be wasted money as the NDP unfortunatly has started its own self destruction. The undecided now no doubt has been lessened and the liberals increased. The tories, my party by choice have lost many also including myself, expect a lower than usual voter turnout due to non interest brought about by the political parties. George stop your whining, Dale watch your back, Gerry it's done now, Mitchelmore do not speak as harm will be done to you also. The final nail for both the tories and the ndp will happen when Jerome finally gets the intestional fortitude to tell the truth about the party and his abrupt departure, two years left on his term. Tom Marshall who wanted out of finance because he felt he was not the proper person for it and lacked the knowledge for it, finds himself back there and pretends he is happy about it. Interesting two years coming up. We are headed for a major financial crisis due to the hungry Muskrat just because someone felt that it would be good to proceed with such a mega project and now due to money spent we cannot pull out.

  • Dave
    October 23, 2013 - 10:53

    No wonder there is so much disdain and apathy toward politicians. I don't know what's worse here - the backstabbing or the back pedaling. Rogers and Murphy are either not smart enough to know what they are signing, or outright lying because it exploded in their face. Shame on the whole lot.

  • Don't back track on the way you feel
    October 23, 2013 - 10:34

    I think the 4 NDP members knew exactly what they were doing, and now its only Kirby who is standing by the letter. You can't hop from one side of the fence to the other just because everyone knows what you did. Stick to your guns. I think everyone knows that Lorraine can't win the next election, I also feel that at this point no one in the NDP party could win the next election, get out there and get new blood. It takes alot of guts to admit that you aren't the leader that you think you are. When the polls are coming in, in your favor, I also believe that the polls aren't right, again NDPers, stick to what you signed, it looks better than backing away just cause you got caught.

  • I'm Just Saying ....
    October 23, 2013 - 10:33

    This is so reminiscent of PC Ed Byrne when he did the same thing to Lynn Verge some years ago. George Murphy sensed very early after the leak that the news was not well received & tried a back-uppable to save his own political interests. Too bad - not looking good their either because it's not credible. Ms. Michael how did you not sense before now that you were surrounded by those feeding their own politcal agenda. We felt it. Stay strong and do not cave to the self-serving. You have been betrayed and you did accomplish much when you were solo.

  • Just Sayin ......
    October 23, 2013 - 10:18

    This is so reminiscent of PC Ed Byrne when he did the same thing to Lynn Verge some years ago. George Murphy sensed very early in the game that the news was not well received & tried to redeem himself politically. Not credible enough, though. Ms. Michael - how did you not sense before this that you were surrounded by those feeding their own agenda? Stay strong & do not give in to the self-serving. You have been betrayed . You did much better when you were solo.

  • Mark from Aliant
    October 23, 2013 - 10:03

    Kind of makes you glad Kathy Dunderdale is Premier rather than these guys now, doesn't it?

  • Heather
    October 23, 2013 - 10:02

    I am so disappointed in the NDP party today. Whether or not the caucus members felt is was time for a leadership review, it is the way it was handled that bothers me most…..a letter through e-mail!! At least have the backbone to discuss this sensitive issue with the leader face-to face. As this story unfolds, I find myself rolling my eyes yet again at the juvenile way government so often behaves.

  • JUST SAYING
    October 23, 2013 - 10:01

    Too late now George. You knew what the intent of this letter was when you signed it, so be a man and own up to the fact that you personally feel it's time for Lorraine to step back and let someone else take over. An opinion that I share. Times are a changing Lorraine and you appear to be unable to change with it.

  • Heather
    October 23, 2013 - 10:01

    I am so disappointed in the NDP party today. Whether or not the caucus members felt is was time for a leadership review, it is the way it was handled that bothers me most…..a letter through e-mail!! At least have the backbone to discuss this sensitive issue with the leader face-to face. As this story unfolds, I find myself rolling my eyes yet again at the juvenile way government so often behaves.

  • JUST SAYING
    October 23, 2013 - 10:00

    Too late now George. You knew what the intent of this letter was, so be a man and own up to the fact that you personally feel it's time for Lorraine to step back and let someone else take over. An opinion that I share. Times are a changing Lorraine and you appear to be unable to change with it.

  • Dolf
    October 23, 2013 - 09:59

    On reflection the first I heard of this item was via the local TV Evening News, and Ms. Michael was the whistle-blower.

  • Terry Walsh
    October 23, 2013 - 09:50

    It never ceases to amaze me that when people put pen to paper that is intended to ruffle someone's feathers that it will not be to there best interest. I don't know who was the mastermind behind this but whoever it may be lets see if they can face the music and stand up and admit who leaked it to the press, whether it be Lorraine or one of the fabulous four. Where were they when the party was in the bowels of hell at least Lorraine was woman enough to take the job and had done a good job with what she has to work with as MHA's.

  • Elanor
    October 23, 2013 - 09:45

    What gives? The Telegram actually posted a few reader comments. Maybe Tely management can share their new comments policy with us. Is it one article every fourth day, or is the timing completely random? Add that to the fact that the website is a slow as cold molasses and that articles disappear into oblivion half way through the day. Then, of course, there is the more serious problem that the quality of the print copy has taken a steep dive. Lead stories other media have are missing from the Telegram and there are few if any digital updates during the day. All in all, the Telegram has become a slender shadow of its former self.

  • Observer
    October 23, 2013 - 09:31

    The way I see it, the three co-conspirators are now throwing Dale Kirby under the bus with their so-called apologies to Lorraine. Get real. You three, plus Kirby, signed that letter. Any one of you could have said, hold on here, this isn't right, but you obviously didn't and proceeded to put your names to that email. Gerry Rogers, miss goody-two-shoes, can apologize all she wants, but the reality is she betrayed Lorraine and never gave it a sober, second thought when she had the chance. I don't support the NDP. What these four did was wrong and the Party will pay for it big time.

  • david
    October 23, 2013 - 09:27

    This story is something you'd see in a high school student council...and even THEY would be embarrassed about it. If there were any thoughts as to whether the NDP is party that is ready for "Prime Time", let this remove any doubt. Just a place to park a spiteful protest vote.

  • Kate
    October 23, 2013 - 09:24

    You all should be ashamed of yourselves. You all got elected because of her hard work. What goes around comes around - people will not forget your disrespect to a lady who put the NDP in the Province. Yea George - Taxi Service is your only qualification!

  • Don
    October 23, 2013 - 09:01

    I hope George did not give up his Taxi licence.

  • Jacque Lawton
    October 23, 2013 - 08:28

    The NDP party has lost a lot of support because of this .just when your ratings in the polls were the highest ever you have ruined everything.You are not a good team if you betray your Captain!! You have lost my support and a lot more... :(

  • Jacque Lawton
    October 23, 2013 - 08:26

    The NDP party has lost a lot of support because of this .just when your ratings in the polls were the highest ever you have ruined everything.You are not a good team if you betray your Captain!! You have lost my support and a lot more... :(

  • Elizabeth
    October 23, 2013 - 08:26

    Wow. If your "own" would do this to you, what would they do if they actually controlled our province??

  • Susan
    October 23, 2013 - 08:15

    I actually think the party is in the right. I do not think Lorraine Michaels is competent enough to lead the party. I vote NDP on the Federal level, but refuse to do so on the Provincial level as I do not want her as leader. There are many others who feel the same as I do as well.

  • Dolf
    October 23, 2013 - 08:10

    With so much political turmoil going on one would think she'd be in touch with her executive and MHA's daily. Apparently she wasn't. The NDP has effectively shot themselves in the foot. Game over!

  • NDP Blunder
    October 23, 2013 - 08:01

    How is it possible that a woman who has lead the NDP in the Province to #1 needs a leadership review? These are the mistakes of naive inexperienced politicians. George Murphy is surprised the letter was leaked. Is he kidding. Lorraine Michael is a smart, smart woman. Do you think she would walk away without a fight. Certainly sounds like George and others were manipulated by Dale Kirby the snake in all this. A leadership review to endorse the leader. The people of the Province are too smart for that line George. You fell for that? I hope you feel like Judas. But I'm more worried about the impact on the NDP party. We let women have leadership positions but only when we think there is no chance to lead. I'd like to see Dale Kirby resign over this blunder as he is clearly the mastermind who has made it clear to anyone who would listen how he should be leader. Wake up NDP brass if this guy can undermine the rise of the NDP fortunes in the Province this badly we know who has to go and it is most definitely not Lorraine.

  • Rob
    October 23, 2013 - 07:59

    This is all so reflective of the weakness within the NDP party. They are coming across as a bunch of incompetent rookies who are nowhere near ready to govern our province. I feel that the NDP absolutely needs a leadership review as Lorraine Michael is lacking in many respects when it comes to leadership character, and the caucus is right about her inability to attract the right people to the party. Regardless, the NDP now has made a fine mess of whatever credibility and momentum they have struggled for by going about it in the way they have.

  • Darlene
    October 23, 2013 - 07:16

    REALLY...HOW HARD DID THE KIRBYS TWIST YOUR ARM....YOUR A BIG BOY...AND YOU JUST LOST MY RESPECT AND THE NDPS LOST MY VOTE....NOW WHO DO I VOTE FOR.....CHEERS

  • shirley dooley
    October 23, 2013 - 07:13

    Personally i think Dale Kirby is behind this letter,maybe this is his biggest blunder, how dare he insult the lady who got the NDP in NL .where it is today.god bless lorraine and george don't lose to much sleep u knew what u were doing.

  • BI
    October 23, 2013 - 06:59

    More strength of a real man is to show he can apologize and get on with the matter at hand. My respect for Mr. Murphy and Ms Michaels has increased 100 fold. Thanks George.

    • Frank
      October 25, 2013 - 18:28

      And I have a nice parcel of land to sell you. It is a little swampy and is close to the airport but don't worry you'll be alright. My lord, give me strength.

  • Patricia
    October 23, 2013 - 06:44

    Mr.Murphy, you are a very smart man. Yes you betrayed her. You had to know that this action was like putting a nail in your own coffin. Make no mistake about it .Lorraine made you what you are. That goes for all of you. It is something that the Liberals were hoping for .Dissent in the ranks of the party is not good and bodes well for the Opposition .