Big names vie for Lib­eral nod

Sam Slade and Jamie Korab to seek nom­i­na­tion in up­com­ing by­elec­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

A man who har­vests from the sea and another who sweeps gran­ite rocks into the “house” will square off to de­ter­mine who will rep­re­sent the Lib­eral Party in an up­com­ing by­elec­tion in the pro­vin­cial dis­trict of Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace.

Car­bon­ear mayor and fish­er­man Sam Slade con­firmed dur­ing a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, Oct. 10 that he will seek the nom­i­na­tion, set­ting up a con­test with Olympic curl­ing gold medal­list Jamie Korab, who made his in­ten­tions known on Oct. 7.

Up to Fri­day, the party had not is­sued a call for nom­i­na­tions, so it’s pos­si­ble the field of Lib­eral con­tenders could grow.

The lo­cal po­lit­i­cal scene stirred to life ear­lier this month fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of high pro­file MHA and cab­i­net min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy, who left of­fice to re­turn to the prac­tice of law.

Only one con­tender — for­mer Kennedy as­sis­tant Jack W. Har­ring­ton — stepped for­ward for the Con­ser­va­tives, and his can­di­dacy was con­firmed on Thurs­day.

There has been plenty more drama in the Lib­eral camp, be­gin­ning with an an­nounce­ment by re­cently de­posed Har­bour Grace mayor Don Coombs. He in­di­cated he would seek the Lib­eral nom­i­na­tion, but then with­drew af­ter Slade in­di­cated he would join the race. Coombs has of­fered his sup­port to Slade.

That has set the stage for a show­down be­tween Slade, the very pop­u­lar mayor of Car­bon­ear, and Korab, a Har­bour Grace na­tive who shot to na­tional fame af­ter win­ning gold at the 2006 win­ter Olympics.

Newly elected

Slade made his in­ten­tions known just days af­ter be­ing sworn in for a new term as mayor, hav­ing hand­ily de­feated his two chal­lengers in the race for the top elected post in the town.

He was joined by some 40 sup­port­ers Thurs­day at the Car­bon­ear fire hall.

“It’s about the peo­ple,” said Slade, who wore a bright red jacket, leav­ing no ques­tion about his strong lean­ings to­ward the Lib­eral Party. “It’s al­ways been about the peo­ple.” He re­peated this state­ment sev­eral times, em­pha­siz­ing he will run a clean cam­paign, “the same way I al­ways have.”

Slade has been a mu­nic­i­pal leader in the town of some 4,700 peo­ple for the past 20 years, serv­ing as mayor for the last eight.

He ex­pressed con­fi­dence the prov­ince will elect a Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in 2015, one as “red as my coat.”

Slade said he has spo­ken with mem­bers of the dis­trict who be­lieve they have fallen through the cracks of the pro­vin­cial sys­tem, es­pe­cially health care. He re­layed a story of a fam­ily who has been de­nied cov­er­age for med­i­ca­tion that has been deemed nec­es­sary and called it “un­fair.”

“Kathy Dun­derdale, please, please, please make it about the peo­ple,” Slade ex­claimed. “This gov­ern­ment has to start in­vest­ing its oil rev­enue in other ar­eas, and not just in Muskrat Falls.”

Lo­cal con­nec­tion

Korab re­sides in St. John’s, and has worked in real es­tate since 2012.

The fact he is a non-res­i­dent is an is­sue with some vot­ers, but he em­pha­sized that his con­nec­tion to the dis­trict re­mains strong. He is a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor and vol­un­teer with or­ga­ni­za­tions that serve the area, in­clud­ing the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Pla­cen­tia Health Foun­da­tion, the Give the Gift of Life com­mit­tee and the Kids Eat Smart Foun­da­tion.

In an email ex­change with The Com­pass, Korab said he has watched the Lib­eral party re­build over the past few months and be­come a “real con­tender” for next elec­tion.

“I do not want to watch that re­build­ing from the side­lines,” he wrote.

When asked what qual­i­fies him for the job, Korab said he “knows how to work on a team to achieve suc­cess. But more im­por­tantly, I know how to put to­gether a plan and ex­e­cute (it).”

A by­elec­tion is ex­pected to be called af­ter a new Lib­eral leader is cho­sen next month.

Sam Slade

Jamie Korab

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