O’Regan shows up late to budget consultation session

James McLeod jmcleod@thetelegram.com
Published on February 2, 2016
Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
(From left) Carla Watson, Admiralty House Museum manager, Lysa Ivey, Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce administrator, and Elizabeth Jones, owner of Serenity Nursing and Home Care Services, spoke with MP Seamus O’Regan during a pre-budget consultation held at Admiralty House in Mount Pearl Monday.

What would happen if you held a government budget consultation and nobody came?

That’s what happened Monday morning at Admiralty House in Mount Pearl, where Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan was scheduled to do a pre-budget consultation session.

When media arrived, they were only greeted by empty chairs and local Liberal MHA Paul Lane.

Even O’Regan didn’t show up until about half an hour after the event was supposed to start.

He quickly ditched the table at the head of the room, draped with a Mount Pearl-Paradise Chamber of Commerce tablecloth, and started moving the chairs into a rough circle.

When things finally got underway, in addition to O’Regan and Lane, there was a Liberal staffer.

“If we don’t get a huge turnout now, we’ll hold another one,” O’Regan said, to nobody in particular.

“I just found out (about this) 15 minutes ago,” said Elizabeth Jones, the one bona fide constituent who showed up to the meeting.

Jones said her son saw reporters posting on Twitter about the consultations, so she decided to pop by.

Once things got underway, the informal chat lasted about an hour, with O’Regan holding a free-form conversation about all things government.

Jones started off by talking to O’Regan about home care issues, but the conversation ended up ranging far and wide, about everything from bureaucratic frustration and Service Canada to summer employment for students.

In addition to Jones, Carla Watson, the Admiralty House museum director, and Lysa Ivey from the Mount Pearl-Paradise Chamber of Commerce joined in.

The Chamber of Commerce has its offices in Admiralty House, so Ivey was in the building anyway.

Ivey talked about her son and how he wants to work in video game design, and those kinds of high-tech industries.

“I wouldn’t mind sitting down and having a chat with him,” O’Regan said.

“We’ll follow up with you.”

After the conversation wrapped up, O’Regan acknowledged his office hadn’t really promoted the session very well, but he said Monday’s session was “one of many consultations” and that future meetings will be better advertised.

Within hours, he posted on Twitter to say there will be another budget consultation session Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at the Delta Hotel.

As for why O’Regan didn’t show up on time for his own meeting?

“We had a few other commitments that we had to clear up before we got here,” he told reporters.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames