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20 Questions for Barry Petten


On a night when the Tories were getting swept out of government, Barry Petten was the lone guy swimming against the tide.

Barry Petten, the MHA for the electoral district of Conception Bay South, is shown on Friday morning in downtown Manuels across from his constituency office which is located in the Villa Nova Plaza on the main highway along Route 60.

In an unlikely turn, Petten won the district of Conception Bay South, even though he had to suspend his campaign for nine days in November to undergo emergency surgery.

“I went to bed and two hours later I work up wracked with pain. I thought I was coming down with a stomach bug,” he said.

“The gallbladder was the issue, but I had other complications as a result — you know, the toxins — so yeah, I kind of got really sick.”

Petten was executive assistant to longtime Tory MHA Terry French, until French stepped aside in 2014. In the byelection to replace French, Petten ran and narrowly lost.

A year later, the he managed to steal the seat back from the Liberals, despite a red tide sweeping most of the province.

“Running last year, I knocked on a lot of doors. It became a lot of name recognition. People knew who I was this year more than last year,” he said. “People got the fact that I was determined, and respected the fact that I was willing to work this hard to get elected, (and) I’d work just as hard as their elected official.”

 

1. What is your full name?

Barry Calvin Petten

 

2. Where and when were you born?

Born in St. John’s July 22, 1966.

 

3. Where is home today?

Kelligrews.

 

4. What is your favourite food?

Pasta is probably one of the things I like the most.

 

5. Are you a good cook?

Not bad. My wife is much better. My wife is a great cook, but I’m not bad. I can get through it.

 

6. What was your favourite year?

A lot of years: the year I was married, ’94. My children’s birth, ’95 and ’99. And I’m a big Bruins fan, so 2011 was a great year when they won the cup.

 

7. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Being a parent.

 

8. What is your favourite movie?

“Shawshank Redemption.”

 

9. What is your greatest indulgence?

B’y, I love sweets.

 

10. What do you do when you’re not working?

I’m a bit of a clean freak, so when I come home, if I had a stressful day, actually my wife knows I’ve had a stressful day if I’m going with a broom and Swiffer, not speaking.

 

11. What are you reading right now?

“The Target” by David Baldacci.

 

12. What is your greatest fear?

Water … I can’t swim, actually, and I almost drowned when I was a child. And even when my children went to swim lessons when they were younger. My wife actually stopped letting me go to swimming lessons with them because my anxiety around water was to the point that my fear was starting to rub off on the kids.

 

13. What quality do you admire in others?

I’m always inspired by the people that can prove the naysayers wrong, the ones that go against — the typical underdog.

 

14. Do you consider yourself to be a bit of an underdog?

In a lot of cases yes. Yeah, I do. In this past election, I did. (laugh) In some regards I do, in other regards I feel very fortunate.

 

15. What bugs you?

Pretentious people.

 

16. What is your most treasured possession?

We lived in a family home — we don’t live there anymore, we don’t even own it, but it was my father who passed away 21 years (ago) … it was a family home, and it was an old home, a saltbox, two-storey house. But we could never get him to leave it; he would never build a new house. That was his castle. … So a few years back I went and took portraits of the house and got an actual painting done, framed painting, so I have that displayed in my living room.

 

17. What do you consider to be your best quality?

I like to consider myself to be what I expect others to be — honest and straight-up. And I think that’s the way I try to live my life.

 

18. What do you consider to be your worst quality?

Rushing to try and accomplish too much too fast. Rushing and probably missing important details along the way.

 

19. Who is one person, living or dead, you’d like to have lunch with?

(My father) was a political animal, you know. He loved politics, just lived and died politics. So yeah, I mean, it’s not that you’d never want to sit down with your dad who’s passed away, but especially now, yeah. Based on what’s happened with politics, and me after winning the seat, I think that’d be a pretty cool conversation.

 

20. If you were premier of the province, what’s one thing you’d try to do?

A more collaborative approach. We all operate in separate parties. … You’ve got 40 members of the House. More collaborative approaches to a lot of things. I’d try to make things more inclusive.

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