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Joyce ‘intimidated’ Liberals in Speaker vote: sources

The Canadian Cancer Society and Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation will light the Confederation Building yellow in recognition of Cancer Awareness Month. On Monday at 7 p.m. at the East Block main lobby, there will be a ceremony in honour or in memory of someone you love.
The Confederation Building, home of the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature. - SaltWire Network

Cabinet minister allegedly used intimidating tactics to prevent Pam Parsons from becoming Speaker of House of Assembly

More allegations are coming forth regarding “intimidation” by ousted Liberal cabinet minister Eddie Joyce.

The allegations stem from the most recent election of the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

When Liberal MHA Cathy Bennett resigned from cabinet in September 2017, current Finance Minister Tom Osborne was called from the Speaker’s chair into cabinet.

At the original news conference and swearing-in of Osborne, Premier Dwight Ball said he expected Perry Trimper would make a good Speaker of the House.

Shortly thereafter, it was floated in the media that Liberal MHA Pam Parsons might be a good fit for Speaker, as she would have been the first female Speaker in the province’s history.

Sources familiar with the situation have told The Telegram that while the vote for Speaker was meant to be a free vote, Joyce began making phone calls to Liberal caucus members a week before the election, whipping votes in Trimper’s favour if Parsons decided to run for the position.

Multiple sources characterize Joyce’s calls to Liberal members as “intimidating,” though none would elaborate on exactly what made the phone calls feel intimidating.

Sources allege to The Telegram that Joyce pre-emptively stomped down the notion of Parsons becoming Speaker, in what was meant to be a free vote of the House of Assembly.

Parsons did put her name forward for Speaker, but was ultimately unsuccessful in her bid. A final vote count was not released for the election.

The allegations came after Joyce was ousted from the Liberal cabinet following a formal complaint filed with Premier Dwight Ball on Thursday morning.

Joyce attended the Thursday sitting of the House of Assembly, sitting in the second row.

Later that same day, it was alleged by Liberal cabinet minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh that Joyce had outed her as the original complainant, which triggered Joyce’s removal from the Liberal caucus.

She encouraged others to come forward with any outstanding issues, adding it would be best to have a third-party reviewer in place as soon as possible.

The premier then confirmed Joyce’s removal from the Liberal caucus. He said he has left the door open for reinstatement, pending the results of the investigations.

Tory MHA Tracey Perry also came forward on Thursday, saying she plans to file a formal complaint against Joyce in the coming days.

Those same sources say to expect more revelations next week.

david.maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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