Speaker draws fire for supporting Sullivan

James McLeod
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Sullivan Former fisheries ambassador enters race in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl

Former provincial finance minister Loyola Sullivan (left) chats with the province's Speaker of the House and Bonavista MHA Roger Fitzgerald (right) upon his arrival at Hotel Mount Pearl Tuesday morning where Sullivan announced his intention to run as a Conservative candidate for the upcoming May 2 federal election in the riding of St. John's South-Mount Pearl. An unidentified Sullivan supporter looks on.

Loyola Sullivan announced Tuesday he’ll be running for the Conservatives in the May 2 election, but it was someone standing at the back of the room who drew a fair bit of attention.

House of Assembly Speaker Roger Fitzgerald was at the Hotel Mount Pearl to support Sullivan.

Now, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is demanding he apologize for attending the event, as it undercuts his objectivity.

“The Speaker knows — or ought to know — that attending a partisan political gathering as a supporter is clearly in violation of his duty to be independent and politically neutral,” Michael said.

Michael cited a 2005 incident when then-speaker Harvey Hodder apologized to the House for attending a federal campaign event for MP Loyola Hearn.

Liberal House leader Kelvin Parsons also said it might not have been a wise move.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale said she didn’t think it was an issue.

“I certainly know Roger Fitzgerald and that he has a solid understanding of what his role is, and what’s appropriate and what isn’t,” she said.

For his part, Fitzgerald told the media he was at Sullivan’s announcement to support a longtime friend. The two men served together as opposition MHAs in the PC Party before Sullivan retired and Fitzgerald became speaker.

“Loyola Sullivan has been a longtime personal friend of mine for the past 20 years,” Fitzgerald said. “I got a call to come by to attend his announcement here that he’s going to be a candidate.”

Sullivan’s announcement formalizes the three-way race for the riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl. It is widely expected to be one of the closest ridings in the country.

At the kickoff, Sullivan emphasized his experience and the importance of having a member in government if Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives win the election.

“I have a long history and a proven track record,” he said. “I know how the federal political system operates, I know its key players. I know what takes to make a position heard in our nation’s capital.”

Sullivan was the finance minister under then-premier Danny Williams when the provincial government negotiated the Atlantic Accord with Ottawa under Prime Minister Paul Martin.

However, after the Accord was signed and Harper came to power, he was accused of going back on the deal, sparking a war of words between Williams and Harper. Williams accused Harper of breaking repeated promises to remove non-renewable natural resource revenues from the formula that was used to calculate equalization payments to the provinces.

“I have a long history and a proven track record. “I know how the federal political system operates, I know its key players. I know what takes to make a position heard in our nation’s capital.” Loyola Sullivan

The fight between the two men culminated in the Anything But Conservative (ABC) campaign during the 2008 federal election, which in turn led to the Harper Government failing to win a single seat in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Asked about his history in the process, Sullivan said he’s focusing on the future, and praised Harper’s leadership through the tough economic times of the past few years.

“I’m a strong believer in looking forward and advancing our province’s agenda,” he said. “There’s many issues on the horizon for our province now and I’m prepared to work hard to advance our province’s interests.”

Since leaving provincial politics, Sullivan served as fisheries ambassador with the federal government.

Several provincial Progressive Conservative MHAs were at Sullivan’s campaign announcement, perhaps to make a point that the ABC campaign is firmly in the past.

“I’m certainly looking forward to working with them and seeing what a new government can deliver in terms of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Ferryland MHA Keith Hutchings. “I think he brings a lot of attributes to the table that will be well served in Ottawa and in serving not only the riding, but certainly Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Sullivan’s opponents weren’t too impressed.

Incumbent Liberal MP Siobhan Coady said the election won’t be about Sullivan, it’ll be about Harper, and she’s hearing nothing good.

“At the doorstep, I’m hearing from the people that they have concerns,” she said. “They’re questioning what changed in two years with Mr. Harper; that is the question.”

NDP candidate Ryan Cleary was also knocking on doors Tuesday, and he echoed Coady that the ABC campaign is still going on.

“You hear the politicians say that there’s no official ABC campaign, but unofficially, the people haven’t bought into that,” Cleary said. “The people have a hard time warming up to Harper; they just can’t pretend like nothing happened.”


Organizations: Conservatives, PC Party, Harper Government

Geographic location: Ottawa, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • The train
    March 30, 2011 - 14:27

    Does anyone really think NL or the Atlantic provinces will benefit in any way shape or form from a conservative/reform/alliance majority??? Harper is not a progressive conservative. He is REFORM. His policies are REFORM. If he gets elected he'll attack health care, human rights, minority rights, veteran's benefits etc. He's already done that in a minority. If he gets a majority, he'll do what he said he would - leave Canada unrecognizable. This is what Harper represents!! http://bettysearlyedition.blogspot.com/2010/03/stephen-harper-leo-strauss-and-why.html http://www.canpalnet-ottawa.org/Harper-Strauss.html

  • Jim
    March 30, 2011 - 14:10

    Loyola....get a life for Pete's sakes! You are really not that important and while away on your cushy job, our province did just fine without you. I pity people like you who have nothing else in their lives.

  • Just Saying
    March 30, 2011 - 14:02

    Mr Harper went back on his deal at the Accord. Sulliivan negotiated this deal. Does this mean that Sullivan agreed with harper and will follow his lead and as such will go back on his election promises as well.

  • jack stang
    March 30, 2011 - 13:52

    thats right Gerry- this is Harpers approach to Eldercare i guess..put the seniors in the Senate..well the "right" seniors i guess

  • Gerry
    March 30, 2011 - 13:40

    My ... my .... my ... what a lovely picture ! The three old fogies. In which senior's residence was this picture taken? Good God .... of all the young, bright, intelligent, professional men and women in NL are none interested in coming forward to present themselves as candidates for the Federal Conservative Party in the Province.? How disheartening !!!! I wonder if Stephen Harper is intentionally influencing Sullivan and Manning to run in this election. If I knew that was the case I would certainly not cast my vote in favour of the Federal Conservatives. How gullible does this Party think the people of NL are?

  • jack stang
    March 30, 2011 - 13:30

    Bob R says...Loyola is running federal, Roger is provincial. Find something important to talk about." gotcha- how about Loyola is supporting Haprer who reneged on a deal to provide Billion$ to NL. thats important. Sullivan is supportign Harper who openly mocked NL while his lackie- and Loyolas pal Manning GRINNED and CLAPPED. thats important. or don't you think?

  • Robb
    March 30, 2011 - 13:06

    Hey lorraine....if there was ever something constructive, or even sensible that came out of your mouth you may have looked somewhat intelligent. This crap about the speaker of the house is pure garbage, but you need something to pipe up about. He was on his own personal time to support a friend in a 'federal election'...not provincial. YOu never cease to amaze with the stupid things you come up with. Next thing you are going to want the speaker followed to see who he speaks to, maybe bug his bathroom......well, this is just like the stupid things that you and jones do......you have no ideas or any great policies worth anything, so the only thing you can do is try to bash the speaker for what he does on his personal time.......and the rest of ye, give up this stupid 'partisan' comment....it seems the only word you can fit in here to make the speaker look bad...well you are comparing the NL PCs to the federal, well whatever they are now, its always hard to tell.....so don't try the opposition trickery and smokemirrors please.........I say you should lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way....so please just get the hell out of the way.

    • Ruth C.
      March 30, 2011 - 13:46

      And you are who, exactly? Just a tiny, angry, little man.

  • Frank Blackwood
    March 30, 2011 - 13:06

    Coady is my choice! She has the people at heart. Mr. Sullivan let us down when the British Parliament voted against the import of seal products. He joined the politicians for some good beef steaks after. He has never done any good for Newfoundlanders. He will get a seat in the senate if defeated in this election.

  • Thomas griffiths
    March 30, 2011 - 11:46

    I'm amazed at how many people here that are so anti-Harper when what he did after the 2006 election was what he should have done,you can't have your cake and eat it to.When i see Que getting large amounts of taxpayers dollars as a NLFDER i scream bloody murder so how can i then say NFLD should get more than it deserves.You can all hate Haper all you want but the fact is when the dust settles its a very good chance that he will form a majority goverment, if a person can take the polls as any indicator, with or without NFLD.Politics is a dirty game and the winner gets the spoils,what good has it done us to have liberals MP's over the last couple of years,anyone,anyone.If Harper doesn't form a Majority goverment what will we end up with in Ottawa,a coalition goverment depending on the bloc for support and NFLDers should think about what that means for us,does anyone think NFLD will be at the top of the list in such an aragement,we all know how fairly we have been treated by Que don't we.I any event everyone must mark their X for the party that they feel best repersents them in Ottawa,but this time around the impact of that vote means more than ever before,without seeming to over the top, Canada's future is in the balance,i have alot of family and friends out west like everyone else and i'm really worried about the rumblings out there about what will happen should we have a coalition beholding to MP's that would tear our country apart and should they have the balance of power, that just maybe what helps them achive their goal.Here's hoping ever last Canadian aleast gets out to vote,isn't that what are best and brights are fighting and dieing for as we speak.

  • CBS
    March 30, 2011 - 10:48

    These MHAs must have had something better to do then discredit their reputation by standing behind these clowns! Stupid move.

  • Jim Power
    March 30, 2011 - 10:46

    Lets make sure this is another defeated Harper canidate. How much education and health care can we pay for with the price of fighter jets and new prisons?

  • jimbo
    March 30, 2011 - 10:28

    Let's take the longer view here folks. Politics is a game of give and take. Do we want representation at the Cabinet table? Do we want assistance with Muskrat Falls and other developments? Do we want our collective voices heard in Ottawa? Well none of that will happen unless we vote in CPC members....it is no more complicated than that. If you would rather waste your vote on a man who is getting ready to decimate the Federal Liberals, or for a party that has no chance of forming government or opposition; then have at 'er. But don't be bitching and complaining about the fact that "Harper" is ignoring us for the next 4 years. I think it's a fair trade-off to be honest. We ignore him.....he ignores us. It wouldn't make any difference if we were talking about a CPC government, a LPC government, or an NDP government. That's the way she works, and if you haven't figured that much out, you really don't know squat about politics in this country.

    • Thomas Griffiths
      March 30, 2011 - 11:49

      Jimbo,speaks the truth i hope people are listening.

    • jack stang
      March 30, 2011 - 13:36

      wow- jimbo..youre the guy who gives away his school lunch money to the bulley avoid being kicked in the butt!

  • Randy
    March 30, 2011 - 10:23

    Seems like Fitzgerald knows nothing about being impartial or ethics for that matter..Why doesn't he concentrate on getting the plant in port union ,up and running,instead of looking foolish on the news.

  • robert
    March 30, 2011 - 09:56

    Danny leaves now we have the three stooges running the parties. What we become of us?

    • Bert
      March 30, 2011 - 11:14

      I wonder how many strong P.C. supporters like myself will not be voting P.C. this coming provincial election. Just thinking about Tom Osbourne, Terry French , Felix Collins and Roger Fitzgerald turns my stomach. If justice was done we Grandparents would have seen the provincial debt paid off, now we have to wait 30 years. Our grand children not our children may see it. I have voted P.C. for the last 20 years but here is a message to Kathy Dunderdale." You have really screwed up the party and my thoughts of you have completely changed and Yvonne Jones and Lorraine Michael both sound much better to the ear now than you do." A stronger supporter than me you could not have found and lost. Its like being a die hard Canadian or Maple Leaf fan all your like and than changing. Believe me Dunnerdale this will cost you dearly at the Poles.

  • H
    March 30, 2011 - 09:48

    danny leaves and the house falls down, doesn't say much for our politicians. will fridge magnets and trinckets be on order in the future?

  • Bill
    March 30, 2011 - 09:30

    Don't want to insult seniors as I am one; but where is the young blood in this Federal election. Appears that the Conservatives are just offering up recycled politicians who have already reaped political rewards from the party elders. As for our Speaker, he should have stayed away and avoided and potential for conflict. Rather than admit he might have slipped up, he arrogantly challenges the NDP leader to bring a formal complaint to the House. What a waste of our time since he has the support of the Premier and the entire PC side of the house. Keep playing things this way and the arrogance will eventually sink the provincial PC's as well.

  • Joe
    March 30, 2011 - 09:11

    The Newfoundland Conservatives will pay dearly come the next election for getting in bed with Harper. I was a strong supporter the last 2 elections but come October I will not be supporting Terry French for his support of the scum bag Harpers flunkie Fabian Manning. I'm disgusted with Dunderdale that she now is lending support for Harper after his lies over the equilization formula cost the province billions, shame on you.

  • Wince
    March 30, 2011 - 09:10

    I'm voting ABC!!! ANYBODY BUT COADY!!!

  • Murray
    March 30, 2011 - 09:01

    Come on Lorraine, everyone knows that electoral laws (or any laws for that matter) do not apply to the Reform Party.

  • P F Murphy
    March 30, 2011 - 08:30

    Is there anyone who believes that Steve Harper has changed his spots? He lied then and he will lie on Thursday. Effectively, to support or to run as a federal Conservative candidate is to sell out Newfoundland and Labrador to a Prime MInister who is not only unCanadian, but is, in fact, Anti-Canadian and certainly anti-Newfoundland and Labrador. I could not believe Premier Dunderdale as the news showed her siddling up to the microphone with that giddy smile on her face - sort of like the one Fabian Manning wore as he sat behind Steve Harper in the House of Commons while he told Danny Williams and Us, "NO!". Good luck in October, Kathy, maybe there's a Senate seat open for you if Harper manages to stay in power.

  • Bob R
    March 30, 2011 - 08:30

    Does this mean Fitzgerald and Sullivan can't go to the same mass, the same supermarket, the same bar??? If Sullivan visits the Confed Bldg, does Fitzgerald have to leave? Michael and Parsons, got nothing else to do ??? If Fitzgerald campaigns for Sullivan, that's different.

    • jack stang
      March 30, 2011 - 08:58

      hey Bob R your point re meeting at church or supermarket is entierly differnt than supporting the candidate at a partisan event. fitzgerald is SPEAkER- and as such, is required to be impartial. he is showing partisanship by supporting a candidate in a public forum. his crediibility is nullified. he should resign the SPEAKERS chair- he is free to support him as MHA. in the mantime theyre all supportign HARPER who lied and reneged on a 2 BILLION $ agreement in NL. anyone who supports this is a mindless political toad

    • Bob R
      March 30, 2011 - 10:22

      If Michael and Parsons kept quiet, very few would have known Roger was there. I don't believe he gave a speech. Much ado about nothing. Loyola is running federal, Roger is provincial. Find something important to talk about.

  • Don
    March 30, 2011 - 08:23

    Come on Lorraine, there must be something more important to Newfoundland then something as silly as this. If this is the best you can do, you may as well give up politics.

  • Tom
    March 30, 2011 - 07:59

    So he is not allowed to have a voice or opinion. He is still permitted to vote is he not? As the speaker of the house, he is never permitted to use house time to promote any political events, at any level, but this was his personal time and at the federal level. He can do what ever he wants. He is supporting, well it does not matter. Millions have died so he can have the right to support who ever he wants. Loraine Michaels is so out of touch with reality it just blows my mind. Really. Nothing better to do? I would agree if he sat in the house and announced his decision to support a party but on his own time. Get real. So I guess you won’t be brown nosing Mr. Layton when he is here? Better not see you at any of his events. Grow up and mind your own business.

  • BI
    March 30, 2011 - 07:56

    Why doesn't Michael go back to her former job. All this nit picking, complaining and talking about other people she certainly did not learn by being a nun. It's her kind that has this election, that nobody wants, in progress.

  • jack stang
    March 30, 2011 - 07:41

    i saw Tom osborne stand behind Harpers lackey. i voted for Osborne - even had a placard n my window. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR TOM OSBORNE IN OCTOBER. anyone prpud of willaims legacy should give these turncoats PCs the same treatment

  • mainlander
    March 30, 2011 - 07:37

    Hey Loyola, Run for the federal PC party and you might get elected. Only problem is the CRAP Party (conservative reform alliance party) dismantled the federal PC party. Three words - contempt of parliament.

  • jack stang
    March 30, 2011 - 07:36

    i saw Tom osborne stand behind Harpers lackey. i voted for Osborne - even had a placard n my window. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR TOM OSBORNE IN OCTOBER. anyone prpud of willaims legacy should give these turncoats PCs the same treatment

  • Don
    March 30, 2011 - 07:19

    Two clowns in the same picture! Get over yourselves boys, you are only numbers. Get a real life and spend some time with your families before they all die.

  • Lori
    March 30, 2011 - 07:09

    SO the past is the past and he's focusing on the future but he is campaigning on his past, " "I have a long history and a proven track record,” he said"... More double speak from the Conservatives? After all a coalition in 2011 is EVIL, but when Harper wanted it , it was wonderful. People wake up!!!