Lorraine Michael deserves the chance to lead
The New Democratic Party was all over the news last week.
Locally, pundits were waiting for the NDP to give any sign the party was seeking to run a candidate in the byelection to fill the hole left in Carbonear-Harbour Grace by the departure of Jerome Kennedy.
That shoe dropped as Harbour Grace Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams came forward as a potential candidate to run opposite Jack Harrington (PC) and Sam Slade (Liberal).
Meanwhile, the big news out of the party was the grenade lobbed by the NDP caucus towards party leader Lorraine Michael.
Caucus members Dale Kirby, George Murphy, Gerry Rogers and Christopher Mitchelmore sent an email to Michael calling for a change in the leadership of the party ahead of the 2015 provincial election.
Let’s face it, the execution of the move left little to be desired.
The letter was sent just after Michael had returned from a month-long vacation in India.
This meant the four provincial MHAs would have had to meet while she was away and wrote the letter without consulting Michael beforehand.
On the outside, it would very much appear to be a betrayal and it definitely shows party doubts in her leadership.
But, a closer look shows a party that believes its current leader won’t be able to get the job done when it comes to the premier’s race.
They want someone who can push the party over the hump, so to speak, and into the premier’s office.
Perhaps they’re looking at someone like Jack Harris or Ryan Cleary, the sole NDP MPs in Ottawa.
But there is a case to be made for Michael. She has led the party to new heights in this province. Support is at an all-time high in Newfoundland and Labrador, and she consistently polls ahead of current provincial leader Kathy Dunderdale.
With that said, it appears NDP support is slipping. In the most recent poll done by Corporate Research Associates, the NDP dropped to second, eight points behind the Liberals. So, you could say the provincial caucus might have a point in their desire to have a new party leader.
Maybe the party does need a new leader. Maybe Michael has carried them as far as she could. And, maybe she does not have the necessary means or support to rise up and snatch the leadership of this province away from the Liberals and the Conservatives.
But, Michael should have the opportunity to try.