Monday, June 22, 2015


The Liberal Party Of Newfoundland and Labrador were first out of the gate to re-boot their nomination process following the unexpected, premature and politically motivated  rejig of the provinces's electoral boundaries.

The Liberals are not wasting anytime getting back to election readiness status ensuring that the powerful triad leading the party are in place. 

Six sitting MHA's were acclaimed as nomination closed in eight of the provinces 40 districts. Dwight Ball, Cathy Bennett, Dale Kirby, Chris Mitchelmore,  Eddie Joyce, Paul Lane will all be on the ticket this Fall in re-arranged ridings. 

Paul Antle and Siobhan Coady were re-acclaimed as well. 

That puts the Liberals clearly in the lead with nine candidates in place who can start pounding on doors seeking support for a new agenda with their experienced team.  Cathy Bennett was out knocking on doors in her new turf of Windsor Lake this evening!

The first incumbent to be challenged will be CBS MHA Rex Hillier who successfully won a seat in the House of Assembly last Fall after a narrow party nomination fight against political novice businessmen Steve Porter. Nominations for the nomination close at high noon tomorrow.

Porter is back for a re-match. The community activist and former Canadian Home Builder's Association of Newfoundland and Labrador President has been organizing for months and is a popular fellow with a considerable following.

With the incumbency and a by-election win to his credit, Rex Hillier should be in a solid position but the word on the street is that this could be the first major upset of the new nomination process. 

This will be the first of a number of tense nomination battles which will see previously nominated candidates in a fight to hold onto the right to carry the Liberal Party Banner in the Fall Election. The Liberals are expected to get these potential bloodbaths out of the way as soon as possible.

Some of the more interesting seats to watch are:

St. George's-Grand Lake: 

Two Liberal MHA's elected to the legislature last Fall will be facing off against one another in this newly created West Coast Seat.

Scott Reid, - St. George's-Stephenville East and Stelman Flynn, Humber-East find themselves in a fight. The new district is comprised of about 80% of the former St. George's District where Reid was raised and has business interests.  

Much of Flynns old district of Humber-East has been included in the new district of Corner Brook which is being reserved for Federal MP Gerry Byrne.

Flynn, is a resident of the new district and has business interests in the area as well. He is a former president of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and the Provincial Cruise Association.


 Once again, two new additions to the swelling Liberal Caucus will contest a single nomination ensuring one does not get a return ticket to the House of Assembly. 

Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker and Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Sam Slade have said they are not happy about the loss of a seat on the Bay de Verde Peninsula which facilitated this showdown but both are committed to  seeking the Trinity-Carbonear nomination. 

Slade is the more senior member of caucus by a year, having won the by-election to replace PC Gerard Kennedy in 2013. Crocker won a by-election in 2014 that replaced Charlene Johnson. 

This promises to be a tight race.

Placentia-St. Marys:

Sherry Gambin Walsh won the nomination for the seat  last Fall but the inclusion of a number of communities in Trinity Bay (Blaketown, South Dildo, Old Shop, Spread Eagle, Dildo, New Harbour, Hopeall and Green’s Harbour ) facilitated a new contest which is looking to be a repeat of the last one. 

Former The Punters Front Man, Musician Larry Foley has signed up for a re-match.  Gambin-Walsh won the last contest after four preferred ballot counts. She is the Executive Director for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living.

Placentia West - Bellevue:

University Student and part-time Liberal Caucus researcher, Mark Browne, 21 found himself the lone applicant for the nomination in December of 2014. 

The self declared defender of rural interests and a listener will face at least one two challengers. 

Roger Jamieson, the son of Liberal giant, Don Jamieson, is challenging Browne this time around. Jamieson was seeking the nomination in Bellevue but the district was amalgamated with Placentia West. He has said he would seek the nomination in which ever district his home town of Swift Current pitched in. 

Two other significant players are said to considering a run at the seat. Merve Wiseman, Liberal Policy Chair, Marine Search and Rescue advocate and former Federation of Agriculture President has confirmed he is seeking the nomination. He had been seeking the Liberal nod in Bellevue until the boundary changes *

The other name being bandied about is longtime Marystown Mayor Sam Synard. While he has not made an announcement, he is giving the nomination consideration. 


Displaced by the new Electoral Map, former Party Leader and St. Barbe MHA has been organizing in the Lewisporte and Twillingate area since the initial proposal was released. 

The long time advocate for fisher people and outdoors rights is no stranger to contested nominations and tough fights. 

He could be facing up to three others for the nod. Derek Bennett (no relation), Lewisporte's Director of Recreation and Tourism has expressed his desire to run for the Liberals. Past Liberal candidate Todd Manuel is also expected to throw his name in the hat.

Rules Changed:

The ground rules have changed for this nomination process. Cut-off dates for memberships will not apply to people wishing to participate in the selection process. 

Anyone wishing to participate will have to join as a member or a supporter prior to voting. Sign-ups will continue right up to the closure of voting. 

All individuals who are residents of the district, are 14 years of age or older and are willing to register are eligible to vote.

This changes the rules a little, allowing newcomers more opportunity than under the previous process.  

When the process is concluded, two incumbent Liberal MHA's will definitely be without seats to seek re-election in.

* Added to original post after a conversation with Mr. Wiseman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is going to be a dogfight to represent the Liberals for the district of St. Georges - Humber. Although 80% of the geographic area is in Scott Reid's old district, about half or more of the population is in Stelman Flynn's back yard (the Humber Valley). In my assessment it is Shelman's to lose since it is easier to get out the vote from areas he once represented while Reid has to canvass a sparsely populated area to get out the vote (just S'ville Xing and St. Georges are relatively easy to canvass). Furthermore Reid hasn't lived in the district in 30 years and despite telling voters he would move to the area after the last election, he hasn't. He still lives in St. John's. Flynn, on the other hand, lives in his old district. Having said all that, I think Reid can still take it but it will be an uphill battle.