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Survey of sitting MHAs shows a lot of familiar faces will be on the ballot
The 2019 general election — whenever it falls — will see a lot of familiar names on the ballot with a few key question marks.
The Telegram reached out to each sitting Member of the House of Assembly (MHA) individually regarding their plans to run in the coming provincial election.
For the Liberals, all current MHAs have indicated they intend to seek the Liberal nomination in their respective districts. The nomination process has yet to formally begin for the Liberals to date, but it’s expected the process will get going in the coming weeks.
When it comes to prospective candidates, former New Democratic Party (NDP) MHA George Murphy, former St. John’s city councilor Jonathan Galgay, and Topsail-Paradise candidate Patricia Hynes-Coates have each previously indicated their intention to seek Liberal nominations for the coming election.
The Progressive Conservative (PC) Party has already started naming candidates for the coming election.
Windsor Lake MHA Ches Crosbie, Conception Bay South MHA Barry Petten, and Conception Bay East-Bell Island MHA David Brazil have each been formally placed as the PC candidates for the election.
Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn has indicated he will seek re-election after his victory on Jan. 24.
Beth Crosbie has already been named the PC candidate for Virginia Waters-Pleasantville. On Saturday, the party announced George’s Brook-Milton Mayor Craig Pardy had won the nomination in Bonavista and Shane Skinner — son of former PC cabinet minister Shawn Skinner — will represent the party in St. John’s West.
Former PC leadership candidate Tony Wakeham and former PC district association president Craig Mason have indicated their plans to seek the PC nomination in Stephenville-Port au Port, while former Pasadena mayor Brian Pike has indicated his interest in St. George’s-Humber.
Ferryland MHA Keith Hutchings, Cape St. Francis MHA Kevin Parsons, and Fortune Bay-Cape la Hune MHA Tracey Perry did not confirm their intentions to seek re-election by deadline.
Hutchings is the most senior member of the Tory bench, first being elected in February 2007. Parsons and Perry are the second and third most senior Tory MHAs, with Perry becoming an MHA in October 2007 and Parsons in September 2008.
A spokesperson for the PC caucus stated the intention to have all nominations for the party’s MHAs completed by the end of February, but noted the decision to seek a nomination for any party is an “individual” decision.
No commitment from NDP’s Rogers or Michael
When it comes to the NDP, things are a little less clear.
Neither Leader MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) nor St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi MHA Lorraine Michael would confirm whether they plan to seek re-election.
NDP Party president Lynn Moore stated the party is “operating under the assumption” that both MHAs plan to run, but when contacted directly, neither would make a commitment.
Rogers would only state that the nomination process for the party is underway. In an email, Michael stated “discussions about candidates, including incumbents, is part of that planning and timeline.”
Michael was first elected in 2006 and served as party leader from then until March 2015 when Earle McCurdy briefly became party leader and served on an interim basis until Rogers’ election as leader.
Michael, who is approaching her 76th birthday, also went through a bout with breast cancer in 2016, but indicated she's made a full recovery since that time.
As for other prospective NDP candidates, former leadership candidate Allison Coffin and Windsor Lake candidate Kerri Claire Neil have both stated their intention to be on the ballot for the NDP in the coming election.
When it comes to the independents, both Mount Pearl-Southlands MHA Paul Lane and Humber-Bay of Islands MHA Eddie Joyce have stated they intend to seek re-election. Lane hasn’t made up his mind on which party’s ballot he will appear on, but indicated he’ll either run as an independent, for the PCs, or for Graydon Pelley’s Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance — which has yet to receive party status with Elections NL. Joyce has previously indicated he will run as an independent, with no interest in returning to the Liberal bench.
Independent Mount Scio MHA Dale Kirby is another question mark.
Kirby, along with Joyce, had to apologize to the House of Assembly in November 2018 after investigations into five complaints about their behaviour as MHAs turned up one Code of Conduct violation each. Kirby did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.
One thing to consider for all incumbent MHAs is severance pay. Currently, each MHA elected before November 30 who resigns, retires, or is defeated is eligible for severance. That means should Kirby, for example, run and be defeated, he will get a severance payment equal to 81 per cent of his salary, calculated for each month served as an MHA that year.
Those elected on or after November 30, 2015 are not eligible for any severance pay, should they lose their seat in the coming election.
The Telegram will be keeping an ongoing list of confirmed candidates for the coming provincial election located at this story’s on thetelegram.com.