EDITORIAL: Do the Liberals have that heavy hitter?

Nicholas Mercer
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The word coming out of the Liberal party's annual convention in Gander June 13-15 had a dozen candidates seeking nomination papers with intent to run in the electoral district of Port de Grave.

Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer.

In reality, that number was a smokescreen.

In the days following the convention, 12 shrank to five as reported by this publication (see related story).

Now, that could shrink to four - as of deadline Friday Howard Smith was still weighing his options - or balloon too as many as seven. Nominations have yet to open officially, so it's anyone's guess really.

So far, we know Spaniard's Bay councillor Tony Menchions, former journalist Pam Parsons, Lee Efford and Justin Butler have declared their interest in running for the Liberals.

Efford and Butler are particularly interesting names, especially their last ones.

Lee is the son of well-known former politician John Efford, while Justin is the grandson of the last Liberal to hold the Port de Grave seat, Roland Butler.

Looking at the list, it will be interesting to see which way the party swings when it comes time to select a representative.

Each of them are sure to bring a different set of skills to the job.

To many, the Liberals seemed poised to snatch the reins from the Tories and run the province once the next provincial election finishes up in 2015.

As the Progressive Conservative party appears to be disintegrating in front of our eyes, Liberal leader Dwight Ball, chiseled chin and all, appears set to become the next elected premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Things are looking up for the official opposition.

Port de Grave has been a key Liberal stronghold in the past. Prior to current MHA Glenn Littlejohn's victory in 2011, the district saw a pair of powerhouse MHAs in John Efford and Roland Butler occupy the seat.

But the question has to be asked, as it looks right now is there a name there that could topple Littlejohn?

Does the Liberal party have a middle-of-the-order home run hitter who will wrestle the district from the Tories' grasp?

Since winning the district three years ago, Littlejohn has been steadily building his portfolio.

To some, he has become a stronger Progressive candidate than he was four years ago.

It'll take a big stick to knock Littlejohn and it is unsure if any of the candidates listed above carries that big stick.

Each one them will win their fair share of votes no doubt, but will they get enough to reclaim the seat?

It's a long ways away and its anyone's guess, really.

One thing not working in Littlejohn's favour will be public perception surrounding the Progressive Conservatives at the moment.

Will that have an affect a year from now?

Unless you're harbouring a crystal ball, there's no way of knowing that.

He, being Littlejohn, is a recognizable name in the region and it carries weight. It's an advantage Efford and Butler share with him.

Voters will recognize those names from years past.

Menchions and Parsons will have to work hard to push their names outside of their circles. They have a year to do so, should they be elected by the Liberal party and given the chance to go for the seat.

Regardless of who is chosen, Littlejohn will be a formidable test to pass in order to regain the district.

Even with the apparent lack of trust in the current government, he will have the advantage of being a well-known name in the district's biggest municipality.

Can it be done?

Who knows.

Will be be fun to watch?

You know it.

- Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, The Compass

Geographic location: Port de Grave, Newfoundland and Labrador, Bay Roberts

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Recent comments

  • Charles Murphy
    July 21, 2014 - 17:16

    Ivy, If you think Pam Parsons is the best person for the district of Port De Grave, Here is Pam first " Challenge ", In Harbour Grace the shoe factory is moving to Ontario, putting 86 people out of work, some of those workers are from her district. Let see how would she go about solving this problem. And I don't mean by giving hands out. I mean by helping to put those workers back to work. That goes for any of the MHA's, That includes Dwight Ball. After all the Liberals are telling everyone, how they are going to "Diversify " economy, Now its time to step up. Wouldn't you agree to that? Ivy

  • Ivy
    July 19, 2014 - 12:24

    Littlejohn has been an absent MHA. We need a representative for the district not just a community and when a person forgets why he is a member, it's time for him to step aside. My belief is that Parsons has been exposed to all aspects of life and the problems associated with the whole of the district of Port De Grave through her career in journalism. Parsons has been working with the Virginia Waters by-election, the Carbonear by-election and worked with Paul Antle during the leadership race so politics is not something new to her. She may not be the daughter of a politician but she is a self made, successful person, thanks to her education in Political Science and her Journalism major. Parsons has had the advantage of working with people all her life and is quite knowledgeable in how to engage people in solving problems rather than just executing action without public engagement.

  • Sharon
    July 01, 2014 - 15:56

    MHA Littlejohn is a fine politician and a hardworking representative . He has my vote!

  • None of the above
    June 30, 2014 - 06:57

    Littlejohn is a strong contender, but Mayor Philip Wood has the credibility to beat him. He would be the Liberals heaviest and best hitter

    • Die hard Liberal
      July 01, 2014 - 19:49

      Agree, but rumour has it that he is not interested. Too bad!

  • Laughable
    June 25, 2014 - 11:46

    There only two question should be ask of anyone coming to your door looking for your support. " Question " where do you see our economy to, In four years time? " 2" ask for a detail plan. If they try to double talk you, Say to that person, " Good day ". People I'm talking about your " Table ", everyone got the right to eat, not only " Politicians ", wouldn't you agree.

  • Joe
    June 25, 2014 - 10:45

    Liberals are going to win this seat, hands down!