Layton says he’s the only one to trust

James McLeod
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NDP Leader pledges support for Muskrat Falls, investigation into fishery issues

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton speaks to a crowd of supporters during a rally at the Delta Hotel in St. John's Saturday afternoon.

NDP Leader Jack Layton held a high-energy election rally in St. John’s Saturday afternoon, hoping to lend some support and momentum to candidates in this province.

In a speech to supporters, Layton promised to support the Lower Churchill hydro project and said his party is the only one voters should trust.

He also took specific aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for past sleights against the province.

“People here have long memories and they don’t appreciate the way Mr. Harper treated them,” Layton told reporters after the rally. “Or that Mr. Ignatieff turned around and had his party support the very budget that shortchanged the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The party is hoping to see a breakthrough in the province.

Incumbent NDP candidate Jack Harris is widely expected to hold his seat in the riding of St. John’s East, and the party has high hopes for the riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, where candidate Ryan Cleary narrowly lost to Liberal Siobhan Coady in the 2008 election.

The defining feature of the last election in Newfoundland and Labrador was then-premier Danny Williams’ “Anything But Conservative” campaign.

Thousands of regular Conservative voters cast ballots for other candidates or stayed home election day.

With the ABC campaign in the past, no one is sure what will happen this time around, but the NDP is saying there is still a deep distaste for Harper.

“It’s a question of people searching their souls and saying, who do we trust?” Layton said.

Cleary said he is hearing good things from people in his riding, and that the visit from Layton will give his campaign a boost.

“It’s good for everybody to see that the New Democrats are picking up steam right now,” Cleary said after the rally. “I think people are tired of the same old same old with the Liberals and Conservatives.”

In his speech, Layton praised the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, and said if he wins the election, he will lend federal support for the project.

“I'll support your leadership here in renewable energy development with a loan guarantee from the Government of Canada for the Muskrat Falls Project,” Layton said in his speech.

“And invest $375 million in the Maritime Transmission Link from the 3P Canada Fund and our Green Infrastructure Program as a foundation for a green energy grid in Atlantic Canada,” Layton said.

Aside from the Lower Churchill, Layton was asked about fishery issues. Cleary has called for an inquiry into the state of the province’s fishery.

Layton stopped short of calling for an inquiry, but agreed that something needs to be done.

“I know there’s a deep concern as to what happened in the fishery here,” Layton said. “We certainly think some kind of investigation has got to take place, and I think Ryan is expressing the frustration of people in this province as to what happened.”

Saturday’s rally also featured a performance by local reggae-ska band The Idlers.

The celebratory mood was broken, briefly, during Layton’s speech when a heckler interrupted him.

It was unclear what the woman was shouting about, but Layton diffused the situation by saying that he would talk with her after the rally.

“There’s always people who have an opinion to express,” Layton told reporters. “Sometimes it doesn’t agree with yours, and you just sit down and have a conversation about it.”

Layton is the third federal leader to visit St. John’s since the election was called at the end of March.

Canadians go to the polls in two weeks, on May 2.

Organizations: NDP, Conservatives, Canada Fund

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Concerned Newfoundlander
    April 29, 2011 - 12:56

    I agree the race is now between Sullivan and Cleary. I think this bodes well for Sullivan since Cleary is grossly misinformed, arrogant and has little substance if any at all. He has nothing to offer us. We need an MP in government. It is killing our province. If you look at the party's reespective leaders, you've got Harper who has taken Canada through the 2nd worst recession in histor and came out as "envy of the world" and then Taliban JacQ who must raise taxes to support all his election promises. A cap and trade in Canada? Are you kidding me? That will drive gas prices so high we will all be riding bicycles in a year. Lets vote NDP as see how poor our nation can become. The only sensible and logical choice in this election is Conservative. Anything else and our country will do a 180 degree turnaround economically.

  • Mike Conway
    April 18, 2011 - 17:37

    Being a senior citizen,and fed up with the government policy of giving me a measley increase on my old age pension and canada pension,and then taking it back off the guaranteed supplement,therefor leaving me with no increase whatsoever,whereas the cost of living was continually rising,because of this abusive policy i voted for the NDP in the last election,namely Jack Harris,after relaying my concerns to him i at least expected him to speak up against such an abusive policy,to say that i felt slighted is an understatement,when time after time the only ones he spoke in defence of was the murderous taliban,he didn't see fit to speak in defence off the abuse of our seniors here at home,this election i'm not sure who i will vote for but i know who i won't be voting for,and that is the NDP.If they wanted an issue to blackmail parliament why didn't they choose something pertaining to the well being of Canada and it's citizens,such as the disfunctional immigration system,namely the Singh policy enacted by the Liberals,or the issue of Dual citizenship,both policies are there to use and abuse the Canadian taxpayer,voter beware of the sweet talking politicians promising everything,at the end of the day it's the taxpayer who must foot the bill,the politicians will walk away with thei fat pensions.

  • It's Between Sullivan and Cleary now
    April 18, 2011 - 11:09

    CBC NL political affairs correspondent said on national news that if it was a dtraight Coady-Sullivan race, he would "Mop up the floor with her" but Ryan Cleary's well funded challenge has changed the dynamics and now it is a race. The NDP will not form the next government, but you can bet it will have even more influence if it is another minority. Coady is dead in the water and Harper has to be stopped. plus, Jack harris got things done from the NDP benches (while Coady got nothing done from the Liberal benches) so electing Cleary might be good for St. John's and Mount Pearl.

    • Jeff
      April 18, 2011 - 11:25

      But just imagine what Sullivan can do from the Conservative benches: crosswords, sudokus, text messaging and dutifully applauding his boss each time he evades a question or deflects another scandal. Under President Harper, a backbencher (or cabinet minister) is about as much use as an inflatable dartboard.

    • Jordan
      April 18, 2011 - 12:02

      Harper is why Loyola Sullivan isn't doing well, Cleary plays a small role. What has Jack Harris done exactly that Siobhan Coady hasn't? Two of them are some of the highest profile members in their caucuses and while Coady is active in her riding Harris does very little.

    • James
      April 18, 2011 - 13:42

      Coady is nothing but cheap PR. The only person who thinks she is the hardest working MP in Otttawa is Siobhan who gave herself the title. It's like that Spinal Tap lyric "I know its so, because I told me so!" sadly, their are public relations practitioners like Siobhan Coady who believe if you say something 5 times it will stick in people's heads even if there is not a shred of the truth to it.

  • Randy
    April 18, 2011 - 10:22

    Does Jack realize our light bills will double because of this musrat falls fiasco and what about the NDP position on the seal harvest..How come no body will ask these socialist a question

    • Taxpayer
      April 18, 2011 - 17:44

      Th only one you have to ask anything of is Premier Dunderdale. She's the one doing the developing of Musrat Falls. Not either of the Federal parties.

  • Politically Incorrect
    April 18, 2011 - 08:42

    According to the latest Angus Reid poll, the NDP is tied with the Liberals. Interesting times.

  • Jim
    April 18, 2011 - 08:04

    Yes, Jordan. The Conservatives and Liberals have done such a good job themselves. Yes, in case you didn't know, I am being sarcastic.

  • Sparky
    April 18, 2011 - 08:02

    I think Mr.Layton would do "a wonderful service for Canada",if elected. NDP has my vote this year For Sure!, why not? We all saw 'what the Liberals were about with paul martin & his GOONS in power! Now everyone can see what steve harper is doing for the provinces & small business,nothing!,not an effort! Harper would`nt even answer the letter that Danny Williams wrote him on the Atlantic Accord! So its time to put the NDP in power & see what comes out of it!

  • Murray
    April 18, 2011 - 07:54

    We have seen how the Liberals use the NDP policies to get elected then adopt the Conservative platforms as soon as their in Parliament. But it dosen't take much to see that Ignatieff has had a fondness for the policies of George Bush for a while now.

  • Jordan
    April 18, 2011 - 07:14

    He's the only one to trust because he knows he'll never have the oppertunity to live up to his promises.

    • Taxpayer
      April 18, 2011 - 08:34

      Definitely a Conservative supporter because he never has to think when he votes and can't spell opportunity.

    • Jordan
      April 18, 2011 - 11:59

      Sorry that I made a spelling a mistake. I actually plan on voting NDP, because of the candidate not the party. The fact is very few, if any, political parties can keep the promises they make. The PCs here haven't always kept their promises. The NDP in Nova Scotia weren't raising taxes or having more then 12 cabinet ministers when they campaigned in 2009 and they've raised both. In New Brunswick the Liberals campaigned on not selling NB Power and then tried too. Jack Layton would break promises if he was in power to, he wouldn't be able to do everything he says.

    • Donb Burt
      April 19, 2011 - 06:20

      You would think that some people would have the intelligence to come up with an original statement at some time in their lives.