Bring on the elec­tion

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - “ In­deed, it has been said that democ­racy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment, ex­cept for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time …”

It’s been more than 60 years since for­mer Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Sir Win­ston Churchill made this fa­mous state­ment in the House of Com­mons, and many be­lieve his words are as rel­e­vant to­day as they were in 1947.

In­deed, with a pro­vin­cial gen­eral elec­tion less than four months away, and hav­ing just re­cently suf­fered through an un­nec­es­sary fed­eral elec­tion, we need very lit­tle re­mind­ing that we live in a demo­cratic so­ci­ety.

That is es­pe­cially so these days for the vot­ers who live in the pro­vin­cial elec­toral district of Port de Grave, with its roughly 12,000 cit­i­zens.

There’s been plenty to keep even the most half­hearted po­lit­i­cal ob­server in­ter­ested in re­cent months, and it’s shap­ing up to get even more com­pelling — some might say en­ter­tain­ing — in the com­ing weeks as we edge closer to the Oct. 11 pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

It all started with the an­nounce­ment some months ago by cur­rent Lib­eral MHA Roland But­ler that he is re­tir­ing at the end of his cur­rent term. The news was not en­tirely sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing But­ler’s long his­tory in pol­i­tics, but it cer­tainly caught the at­ten­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ti­sans of ev­ery shape, size and al­le­giance.

Pet­ten’s petu­lance

As a re­sult, there’s seem­ingly more in­ter­est than ever in de­ter­min­ing who will be the area’s next Mem­ber of the House of Assem­bly.

Hun­dreds of Lib­er­als re­cently took part in a very spir­ited nom­i­na­tion process, with Leanne Hussey, an un­der-30 univer­sity grad­u­ate re­sid­ing in Shearstown, de­feat­ing long­time Lib­eral or­ga­nizer Ross Pet­ten of Port de Grave.

Hussey has been very ac­tive in the Lib­eral party, is well-ed­u­cated, per­son­able and en­er­getic. It’s a sure bet that Lib­eral party or­ga­niz­ers are en­thused about her en­trance into the race. How­ever, Pet­ten’s petu­lant com­ments fol­low­ing the vote may in­di­cate a rift in the party, though it re­mains to be seen whether this will im­pact Hussey’s chances of re­plac­ing But­ler.

Still, it’s a sub­plot worth keep­ing in mind when the votes are counted on elec­tion night.

On the other side of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, there seems to be a very vig­or­ous resur­gence of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives, a party that has been on the out­side look­ing in for much of the past six decades. In fact, Port de Grave was one of only five dis­tricts in the prov­ince that did not elect a PC MHA in 2007.

A Tory up­swing

Four peo­ple — Dale Decker, Glenn Lit­tle­john, Betty Moore and Ju­nior Tay­lor — have pub­licly con­firmed they want to be the PC can­di­date and will seek the nom­i­na­tion. There’s even talk of a fifth, and pos­si­bly a sixth nom­i­nee.

Po­lit­i­cal watch­ers in the district would be hard­pressed to find such a sce­nario in re­cent times. It’s been a decade since there was even a fight over the PC nom­i­na­tion in the district, and that battle fea­tured just two con­tenders — Ed Neil and Doug Moores.

And at last week’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the district PC as­so­ci­a­tion, sources say some 50 peo­ple were in at­ten­dance. Again, a jumbo-sized crowd when com­pared to pre­vi­ous meet­ings.

It ap­pears the stage is be­ing set for a fas­ci­nat­ing cam­paign, one that po­lit­i­cal junkies will en­joy im­mensely.

We’re sorry to say the same can’t be said for other dis­tricts in our re­gion, where high-pow­er­ered PC cabi­net min­is­ters ap­pear to have a lock on Har­bour Main ( Tom Hed­der­son), Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace ( Jerome Kennedy) and Trin­ity-Bay de Verde (Char­lene John­son). But ex­pect some in­trigue in Belle­vue, where in­cum­bent Tory back­bencher Calvin Peach is fac­ing what some are say­ing is a cred­i­ble chal­lenge from NDP can­di­date Gabe Ryan, a teacher at Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town. Tra­di­tion­ally, Belle­vue has elected Lib­er­als, but the party has yet to nom­i­nate a can­di­date in the district.

Let the fun be­gin.

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