'I'm a west end townie"

Seamus O’Regan plays up local roots as he launches political career with Liberals

James McLeod jmcleod@thetelegram.com
Published on August 19, 2014
Former CTV journalist and host Seamus O’Regan launches his campaign Monday to represent the Liberals in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl in the next federal election. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Seamus O'Regan has deep roots in the riding he is seeking to represent and spent the biggest chunk of his brief speech Monday afternoon reiterating those facts.
O'Regan, who will seek the Liberal nomination in St. John's South-Mount Pearl, wants people to know he's from the area. He went to mass at St. Theresa's on Mundy Pond Road. He delivered papers for The Telegram, and his family stretches back generations in the area.

"You know, I'm a west end townie. I've always been a west end townie," he told reporters afterwards.

"I think a lot of people know that I'm home all the time. I've been coming home at least once a month for 10 years."

At the same time, a comic appeared on Twitter Monday depicting O'Regan as parachuting into St. John's.

As a journalist and host for CTV's Canada AM, O'Regan has been living in Toronto for a while. He was even rumoured to be considering a run for the Liberals in a byelection in the riding of Toronto Centre earlier this year.

O'Regan said he was approached to run there, but it wouldn't have been right.

"The only way I felt right about it is if it was home and it really became that simple," he said.

O'Regan also spent some time talking about his personal background, seeking to emphasize his education and experience in government.

He said he wanted to make it clear that he's more than just a guy who's been on TV.

In the 1990s he worked as a senior policy adviser in the premier's office under Brian Tobin, as well as other political positions within the Liberal government.

He has a master's of philosophy from Cambridge University in England.

"I needed to let people know that I do have a professional and academic background in issues that are really important to this province, so I think I've got something to offer," he said.

The rest of his speech focused in broad brush strokes on the kind of representation Newfoundland and Labrador needs in Ottawa.

"We need to make sure that all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have their opportunity to do well - that everyone has a fair crack at it," he said.

"We need to demonstrate to this country that the days of snide remarks towards Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are over. We are a have province. We are hard workers."

He also mentioned the need for the federal government to create more jobs and improve access to post-secondary education.

The next federal election is likely more than a year away, scheduled for October 2015.

If O'Regan wins the nomination, which the Liberal party is expected to call in the coming weeks, he'll face off against NDP MP Ryan Cleary.