Await­ing a nom­i­na­tion date

Five po­ten­tial Lib­eral can­di­dates for Port de Grave spent sum­mer can­vas­ing district

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

The pop­u­lar­ity of the pro­vin­cial Lib­eral party has climbed over the past year.

Can­di­dates have been show­ing in­ter­est in run­ning for the Lib­er­als well in ad­vance of nom­i­na­tion dates, with one of the larger dis­tricts an­nounc­ing sev­eral peo­ple in­ter­ested be­fore a nom­i­na­tion has even been called.

The district of Port de Grave made pro­vin­cial head­lines af­ter word spread that a dozen po­ten­tial can­di­dates would be step­ping up to the plate.

The area has been a Lib­eral strong­hold in the past. But Progressive Con­ser­va­tive MHA Glenn Lit­tle­john has been in the seat since 2007.

It has been two months since the an­nounce­ment of a dozen in­ter­ested peo­ple was made at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the Lib­er­als in Gan­der, but only five have been ac­tively cam­paign­ing this sum­mer.

Each can­di­date has his or her own rea­sons for want­ing to run, and their opin­ions vary on the num­ber of can­di­dates in­volved. Each can­di­date was asked the same ques­tions by The Com­pass, and an edited ver­sion of their an­swers are be­low.

Justin But­ler

Justin But­ler may be the youngest of the group, at 22, but his age is no re­flec­tion of his ex­pe­ri­ence.

The grand­son of for­mer district MHA Roland But­ler, Justin But­ler grew up around pol­i­tics and be­lieves he has the knowl­edge and pas­sion for the job.

As for how he feels about having four com­peti­tors, But­ler is happy.

“By having five (po­ten­tial can­di­dates) it pro­motes the Lib­eral party,” he said.

Can­di­dates are not only cam­paign­ing for them­selves, they are also sign­ing up sup­port­ers for the party. In or­der to vote for who will rep­re­sent the Lib­er­als in each district dur­ing the elec­tion, they must ei­ther be a sup­porter or a mem­ber of the party.

“If I sign up 1,000 peo­ple, and the other can­di­dates sign up 1,000 each, that’s 5,000 votes for the Lib­er­als.”

But­ler also be­lieves no can­di­date will win by a land­slide.

“I don’t see any­one win­ning a large ma­jor­ity,” he said.

Kay Crane

Kay Crane, who got mar­ried two weeks ago, de­cided that now was the best time to take the plunge.

She is a long­time Lib­eral sup­porter and loves work­ing with peo­ple.

Crane be­lieves the num­ber of com­peti­tors will split the vote.

“Having five (pos­si­ble can­di­dates) shows in­ter­est in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Crane added there may be five now, but she wouldn’t be sur­prised if more throw their hats in the ring.

“At the Lib­eral (as­so­ci­a­tion) din­ner, there were more pos­si­ble can­di­dates,” she said. “There are still other names (that could an­nounce their in­ten­tions to run).”

Lee Efford

Can­di­date Lee Efford is no stranger to pol­i­tics ei­ther. His fa­ther is John Efford, a for­mer Lib­eral MHA and MP.

Efford knew he wanted to get in­volved in pol­i­tics at a young age, al­though he never thought it would be this early in his life. But the time was right.

The idea of five can­di­dates isn’t a pos­i­tive thing, ac­cord­ing to Efford.

“I hope peo­ple are not go­ing to be dis­en­fran­chised by the num­ber of po­ten­tial can­di­dates,” he said. “What would be good for com­pe­ti­tion is three or four.”

Efford strongly be­lieves the area will go back to Lib­eral red af­ter this elec­tion.

“I re­ally do hope peo­ple are go­ing to get be­hind the even­tual win­ner ( from the Lib­eral nom­i­na­tion),” he added.

Tony Men­chions

Tony Men­chions is the only po­ten­tial can­di­date so far who has been elected to gov­ern­ment. He is a coun­cil­lor and for­mer deputy mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay.

Men­chions be­lieves ev­ery­one has their core of sup­port, so the race will be an in­ter­est­ing one.

“Having five peo­ple is great,” he said. “The more, the merrier.”

One thing Men­chions ap­pre­ci­ates about the high level of in­ter­est is the fo­cus the district is get­ting.

“This just helps to put the lime­light in the area,” he said.

Pam Par­sons

For­mer me­dia per­son­al­ity Pam Par­sons is ded­i­cated to her campaign and says she’s known for a long time that she wanted to run for pol­i­tics.

She grew up in Spa­niard’s Bay, and refers to the district as “home.”

When it comes to the num­ber of can­di­dates, Par­sons said it’s ir­rel­e­vant.

“I’m not fo­cus­ing on other can­di­dates,” she said. “I am fo­cused on me and my campaign.”

She would like to see a public forum for the five to get to­gether to dis­cuss the is­sues af­fect­ing peo­ple.

The nom­i­na­tion process

A nom­i­na­tion has yet to be called for the Port de Grave district. But The Com­pass has learned it is likely to be dur­ing the first week of Septem­ber. Only one can­di­date who puts their name for­ward will be cho­sen to run in the gen­eral elec­tion.

In or­der to vote for a po­ten­tial can­di­date, res­i­dents of the district must sign up to be a sup­porter of the Lib­er­als. You can do that by vis­it­ing www.nl­lib­er­als.ca.

A date and lo­ca­tion for the vote will be an­nounced when the nom­i­na­tion dates are re­vealed.

Of course, when an elec­tion is called, vot­ers in the district can pick any party.

Justin But­ler

Tony Men­chions

Lee Efford

Pam Par­sons

Kay Crane

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