Round two for Avalon rivals
Andrews, Manning face off again in federal election
It’s a four-horse race to determine who will represent the Avalon district in Ottawa beyond May 2, with two candidates having plenty of familiarity with one another.
Incumbent Liberal MP Scott Andrews, Conservative candidate and former senator Fabian Manning, New Democratic Party candidate Matthew Fuchs, and the Green Party’s Matthew Crowder will all vie for votes in the lead-up to next month’s federal election.
Andrews defeated then-incumbent MP Manning in the 2008 general election by 3,300 votes, taking 45.3 per cent of all ballots cast compared to 35.2 per cent for Manning.
This time around, observers are suggesting results will be much closer or even swing in Manning’s favour. In the 2008 election, the Conservative candidate was hounded by the “Anything But Conservative” (ABC) campaign organized by thenpremier Danny Williams, who was locked in a dispute with Prime Minister Stephen Harper over equalization formulas. The prime minister appointed Manning to the senate shortly after the 2008 election.
The ABC campaign restricted Tory MHAs from offering support to Conservative candidates, including Manning. But there’s no sign of that this time around. On Friday, Manning was campaigning in the Conception Bay North region with Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA and provincial Health Minister Jerome Kennedy at his side.
Several cabinet ministers and MHAs attended the May 28 gathering in Holyrood to announce both his resignation from the senate and his decision to run again federally, including Tourism minister Terry French.
“An awful lot of us spent our lifetime campaigning for the Progressive Conservative Party and in turn the Conservative Party,” Manning said. “ I think the statement was made the last time with the ABC campaign, ( but) I mean that was tough for an awful lot of us.”
His campaign manager is Senator Elizabeth Marshall, who was the only Progressive Conservative MHA who refrained from participating in the ABC campaign back in 2008.
Andrews, a former Conception Bay South town councillor who was born in St. John’s, made headlines in Parliament for his involvement with a bil l inspired by th e story of Zachary Turner, a 13-month-old who drowned in the arms of his mother, Shirley Turner, in Conception Bay in an act later ruled a murder-suicide. The mother was out on bail while fighting extradition to the United States, where she expected to stand trial for the murder of her husband and Zachary’s father, Andrew Bagby.
Andrews’ Private Member’s Bill, which aimed to change the Criminal Code of Canada to allow courts to justify refusing bail to those accused of committing serious crimes where a child may be at risk of harm, became law last December.
The Liberal MP has served on committees for fisheries and oceans and veterans affairs.
His hopes for holding on to a seat in Ottawa may hinge on continued support in the larger towns within the Avalon district. In the 2008 election, Andrews found substantially more support than Manning in Bay Roberts, Carbonear, and Conception Bay South. Manning’s best results came in areas he previously served as an MHA.
A native of St. Bride’s, Manning represented the riding of St. Mary’sThe Capes for three years before he was defeated in the 1996 election in the redistributed riding of Placentia and St. Mary’s. He made a political comeback in the same riding in 1999, and remained in provincial politics for six years.
In May 2005, he was removed from the Progressive Conservative caucus after he attacked government’s crab management policies. That December, he resigned as MHA to run in the federal election, where he won the Avalon seat previously held by Liberal John Efford.
Fuchs, the NDP candidate, is a graduate of Memorial University’s anthropology program who is now working towards a masters degree in cultural anthropology. The Torbay native has served as president of the Memorial University Graduate Students’ Union and president of the MUN Teaching Assistants Union.
In the 2008 election, NDP candidate Randy Dawe received 5,708 votes, accounting for 17.4 per cent of all ballots cast in the district.
Green Party candidate Matt Crowder is an engineering student at the College of the North Atlantic. He has a degree in political science and philosophy, and a diploma in journalism. He worked for Bristol city council in the United Kingdom before travelling to New Zealand to practice organic farming.
In the last general election, Green candidate Dave Aylward received 2.2 per cent of all votes cast.