Real estate agent seeks Liberal nomination in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl
It may be 21 months before the next federal election is set to take place, but one candidate has already come forward seeking to reclaim a seat for the Liberals.
Jim Burton shakes hands as he makes his way to a podium at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Wednesday in St. John’s. The real estate agent announced he will seek the Liberal nomination for the federal riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl in 2015.
— Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
Jim Burton, a prominent real estate agent and former water bomber and air ambulance pilot, announced Wednesday that he wants to represent the party in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, a seat currently occupied in Ottawa by NDP MP Ryan Cleary.
“Working together, we can bring forward ideas, initiate action, and get results,” said Burton in front of a large crowd at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in St. John’s that included former premier Roger Grimes and two sitting Liberal MHAs, Tom Osborne and Andrew Parsons.
Burton said he has embraced giving back to his community through varied volunteer commitments.
“We have worked with others in our community to embrace the true volunteer spirit of community — service above self,” he said.
With that in mind, he said people need to work together to be agents for positive change. Burton labelled the government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership as one prone to promoting negativity.
“I want to be part of the political culture that celebrates success. That brings people together and views politics not as a game, but an opportunity to serve, to give back to our fellow citizens.”
Affordable housing and additional support for seniors and veterans were issues that Burton suggested deserve more attention from government.
Asked whether he felt the Orange Wave that helped the NDP form the official opposition in the last election was over and done with, Burton declined an opportunity to take a shot at the opposing political party.
“That’s a great question to ask the people,” he said. “I'm here today because of the flame lit in my soul to serve and make our community a better place.”
Burton said his decision to announce his candidacy now well ahead of the 2015 election date was about getting out in the public and listening to people.
Speculating about who might run for the Liberals has ramped up in recent weeks. Last week, Siobhan Coady, the Liberal incumbent Cleary defeated in 2011, told CBC News she would not be running in 2015. Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms recently told NTV News he may consider running in either the provincial or federal election that year, but he said it remains to be seen for which party he would do so.
On Twitter Wednesday, Coady said she wishes Burton all the best with the nomination process and hope the Liberals can manage to win back her former seat in 2015 as part of a Justin Trudeau-led government.
Burton said he likes Trudeau as a leader and appreciates his commitment to social justice. One reporter questioned whether the fact Burton supported Quebec Liberal MP and former Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau in the federal leadership campaign might hurt his chances in the nomination process and asked if he was worried about the possibility of running against a Trudeau loyalist.
“No,” replied Burton. “I’m here to represent the people, and I’m going to work hard for the people. I’m going to gain their trust and respect. I’m going to go to Ottawa, and I’m going to create some results. That’s my mandate right now for me.”