Round two for Avalon ri­vals

An­drews, Man­ning face off again in fed­eral elec­tion

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON

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.

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