Local MHAs stick with government
Paul Lane’s removal from Liberal caucus generates plenty of reaction
Like their former colleague Paul Lane, Liberal MHAs in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia area have heard plenty of complaints from constituents about the new deficit reduction levy.
That said, it doesn’t appear any of them are looking to follow in Lane’s footsteps by openly opposing the budget.
Paul Lane surprisingly sided with opposition MHAs last week when he voted against a motion in the House of Assembly linked to the levy. He subsequently told reporters he would vote against the budget in its current form. The next day, Premier Dwight Ball told media the Liberal caucus voted unanimously to remove Lane, who now sits as an independent MHA.
“Each MHA has to make their own decision and that was the decision he made,” said Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker when approached by The Compass.
All fours MHAs representing the Trinity-Conception-Placentia area have told The Compass they’re prepared to support the budget when the time comes to vote on it.
Placentia-St. Mary’s MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh admits she was surprised by Lane decision. She’s had numerous discussions with constituents and is hearing some feedback about the levy, but not to a significant extent.
“I mean, the potential deficit of $2.7 billion and just trying to wrap your head around that, and I certainly understand why my constituents are concerned. I really truly do. I have more knowledge than they have, so I’m OK with my decision and what I continue to do and how I represent them.”
She notes government has indicated many times over the last few weeks it will look to reduce the impact of some of those changes when the economic situation allows it to do so.
“I’m confident that’s what’s going to happen, and I hope it’s sooner rather than later,” she told The Compass.
Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker said he’s heard plenty from his constituents on the levy as well as other issues. He’s returned thousands of phone calls on the matter and reminds people it is a temporary tax.
I have more knowledge than they have, so I’m OK with my decision and what I continue to do and how I represent them. Sherry Gambin-Walsh
“The levy starts to leave in 2018 and we’ve also said that if we can achieve a more temporary or quicker exit of the levy, we’ll certainly work towards it,” said Crocker.
Meanwhile, Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons declined to comment on the departure of Lane from the Liberal party.
Like Crocker, she’s received lots of feedback about levy in her district. Parsons stressed she will continue to fight for the courthouse in Harbour Grace and a replacement for Coley’s Point School.
“The people of Harbour Grace-Port de Grave elected me and they gave me mandate … and a job to do. There’s 15,000 constituents in our district and I’ve been hearing from them and communicating with them daily. It’s my job to represent them and their best interests. The best place to do that is in government,” said Parsons.
Harbour Main MHA Betty Parsley could not be reached for comment last week. However, she did tell The Compass last month she has no intentions of leaving the Liberals over the budget.
“I’m most effective as an MHA in government, because I have a voice and I will still fight for the people who elected me,” she said following the April 28 Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting in Clarke’s Beach.
Local MHAs Steve Crocker and Pam Parsons won’t be following the lead of their former caucus colleague Paul Lane when it comes this year’s provincial budget.