New Democrats will meet in St. John’s this spring to hold a vote on Lorraine Michael’s leadership — just as soon as they can book a room and make the necessary plans.
Party vice-president Geoff Gallant said Wednesday that the NDP executive held a meeting Tuesday night to start the ball rolling on a spring convention and a leadership review, which is something that currently doesn’t exist under the party’s constitution.
The NDP was planning to hold a regular convention in October 2014, but a caucus revolt, infighting and the departure of two MHAs has pushed Michael to call for a leadership review as soon as possible.
Gallant said the executive hasn’t worked out the details yet, but they’re trying to make it happen.
It’s not clear who will be able to vote on whether or not they want Michael to stay on as leader. It’s also not clear what percentage of “yes” votes she’ll need to stay on unchallenged.
“That’s to be determined. We weren’t going to decide that last night,” Gallant said. “The decision last night was to put in place a mechanism to hear from our membership.”
A week and a half ago, 100 per cent of Michael’s fellow New Democrat MHAs signed a letter asking her to step aside to make way for a party leadership convention. Two of the four MHAs backtracked after the story broke in the media.
After a week of accusations of lying, threats and confusion among caucus members, Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore announ-ced Tuesday they will leave the NDP caucus to sit as independent MHAs.
Both Kirby and Mitchelmore said they aren’t looking to leave the NDP itself — they just can’t work under Michael’s leadership.
Gallant said the executive hasn’t made any move to kick the two MHAs out of the party.
“We just clarified that they are still members,” he said.
“Dale is a dear friend of mine, and everyone’s worked really hard in this party. So I don’t know if there’s any appetite to go after anyone for that sort of thing.”
Gallant said the spring convention will be held somewhere in St. John’s, but they haven’t booked a location yet. He said the party is going to try to find a way to get people from outside the capital city to participate.
“Nobody wants it to be just a St. John’s thing,” he said. “We are going to be looking at ways to help people participate in that from outside of St. John’s.“