‘Great day for cynics’: 2011 candidate

James
James McLeod
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Former Liberal contender says party is giving the impression it will do anything to get elected

Former Liberal candidate and political science PhD student Drew Brown summed up his take on the Liberal party in one succinct post on Twitter Tuesday after-noon.

“Today is a great day for cynics and a bad day for anyone who believes political parties and MHAs stand for anything other than power,” Brown wrote.

Drew Brown, a former Liberal candidate, says the Liberal party is giving the impression that it will “do anything and say anything to get elected.” — Submitted photo

On Tuesday, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball welcomed former NDP  MHAs Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore into the fold.

The announcement comes roughly two weeks after Ball was standing at a different podium, welcoming Tory bruiser Paul Lane into the party.

Brown said he thinks the party is leaving the impression “we will do and say anything to get elected,” and that might hurt them.

“I think that’s sort of the impression that the Liberal party is conveying right now by having Paul Lane and Dale Kirby literally within the same party within two weeks of each other,” he said.

“This is kind of a weird situation to be in.”

Lane, especially, seems like a strange fit for the Liberals. He was one of the most vocal, public partisans for the Tories, and stridently defended then-premier Kathy Dunderdale pretty much right up until the day he quit.

“I guess there’s a certain degree of opportunism in any floor-crossing,” Brown said.

“But with Paul Lane it’s especially jarring because it’s Paul Lane. Dude was the main bulldog for the Tories on the Internet for a long time. He was the dude who was rigging the polls.”

With Kirby and Mitchelmore, Brown said, it makes a bit more sense.

“I mean, Kirby always struck me as more of a Liberal-leaning New Democrat anyway — sort of more to the right, less of the sort of super-union-proto-socialist stuff,” he said.

“I guess I can understand that the (NDP) has been sort of trying to shift more to the centre. That’s basically what (national NDP Leader) Tom Mulcair has been doing, and I guess Kirby was trying to do the same thing with the provincial party. ... I guess it didn’t really work.”

Brown said that even with all the party-switching, it’s not fair to say political parties in this province have no ideology, as such.

“There’s always ideology in politics,” he said. “What this really shows is that at least the two major parties — and, like, half of the New Democrats — were all basically on the same ideological page.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: NDP, National NDP Leader

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  • Robert
    February 05, 2014 - 13:29

    I would like to think that the objective of any elected member is to represent the people who put him/her in the position. Despite even the distain portrayed by Ms. Michaels for the "2" even she acknowledged that they were strong constituent workers. During the sitting of the House it became apparent to everyone that as "independent" members there was little or no opportunity to speak to the House on any matters. So in the short term Mr. Ball is making sure the people of the 2 districts have representation in the House. As far as these 2 ever being elected Liberals has been left to the process and I would think that will be decided by those who decide who the candidate will be come next election. And as far as demonstrating Lib/PC/NDP values; I'm not sure what color you get mixing blue/red/orange but that is really what we get anyway! With the "leader" always dominating the true color and not the lowly member!

  • Robert
    February 05, 2014 - 13:27

    I would like to think that the objective of any elected member is to represent the people who put him/her in the position. Despite even the distain portrayed by Ms. Michaels for the "2" even she acknowledged that they were strong constituent workers. During the sitting of the House it became apparent to everyone that as "independent" members there was little or no opportunity to speak to the House on any matters. So in the short term Mr. Ball is making sure the people of the 2 districts have representation in the House. As far as these 2 ever being elected Liberals has been left to the process and I would think that will be decided by those who decide who the candidate will be come next election. And as far as demonstrating Lib/PC/NDP values; I'm not sure what color you get mixing blue/red/orange but that is really what we get anyway! With the "leader" always dominating the true color and not the lowly member!

  • FINTIP
    February 05, 2014 - 10:17

    I suspect Mr. Brown is having some difficulty separating his feelings as a failed Liberal candidate from his objectivity as a PhD poly sci candidate. There is often resentment among the rank and file when defectors from the opposing trenches are welcomed so enthusiastically. There is a well established political tradition of party-hopping in this province and in Canada as a whole. On balance, I think it has been a positive force. It provides an outlet for disgruntled members of caucus. It is one of the few checks on the power of a premier or prime minister between elections. Without it people like Crosbie would have been doomed to political oblivion. I don't know Paul Lane but I very much dislike his political demeanour. He's an old style ultra-partisan bar-room bruiser. And yet his defection is responsible for at least the timing of Dunderdale's resignation, which Newfoundlanders of all political persuasion seem to welcome. It's all part of the democratic process. Like Brown, I think the two new NDP members are probably a better fit. At least they don't come with a reputation for being offensive. But if there is enough resentment in the trenches toward people like Lane, then no doubt he will have (and perhaps should have) a lot of difficulty winning the nomination under his new colours. In the meantime he will have served his purpose. The Tories get a badly needed opportunity for renewal (and new blood - if they have the smarts to look beyond their present cabinet). The defections strengthen the opposition benches, whose effectiveness was limited by their paltry numbers (and by the self-destruction of the NDP under Michaels). As for principles, Ball has insisted on a pledge to Liberal party policies as the price of admission. Not terribly hard of course. As Brown himself points out, there is little ideological difference between the parties.

  • Harvey
    February 05, 2014 - 10:14

    I had fully intended to vote Liberal in the next election. Well, Ball sure changed my mind in a hurry. It's so obvious that the rats who are leaving sinking ships are doing so for opportunism.

  • Harvey
    February 05, 2014 - 10:11

    I had fully intended to vote Liberal in the next election. Well, Ball sure changed my mind in a hurry. It's so obvious that the rats who are leaving sinking ships are doing so for opportunism.

  • Jamie
    February 05, 2014 - 06:57

    And people talk about Ball being accountable & transparent when he didn't even tell the Straits-White Bay North local Liberal association what was happening! Rumour has it some Liberals in the area are not too happy. Now that's a story for the reporters!

  • Linda
    February 05, 2014 - 05:29

    I have to say, I agree with Mr Brown. Liberal will say and do anything to be elects, Thing is the people will have to pay for that mistake once more. Mr Ball isn't a leader, but a follower.

    • Willi Makit
      February 05, 2014 - 11:07

      Gee 'Linda', would 'say and do anything to be elects' include things like promising to enact whistle blowing legislation to quiet a scandal in the middle of an election campaign? Or promising election reform and still nothing done over a decade later? How about 'No more giveaways' as NL ratepayers are saddled with the cost of an grossly overpriced dam while Emera is not only given electricity well below costs, but also a piece of the profit that NALCOR tacks on for providing the service of delivering that overpriced electricity. Shall I go on?