Backbencher loses her bid as N.L.’s first female Speaker
A Liberal backbencher lost her bid Tuesday to become Newfoundland and Labrador’s first female Speaker after challenging her boss’s preferred male candidate.
Pam Parsons lost to Perry Trimper in a secret ballot in the legislature dominated by the majority governing Liberals in St. John’s. An actual vote count was not released after the rare summer sitting to hold the election. Trimper was the man Premier Dwight Ball had publicly tapped for the job.
Parsons, a 37-year-old former journalist in her first term in the House of Assembly, had said she wasn’t trying to sow internal rifts by running against the premier’s choice.
Win or lose, Parsons said it was important to put her name forward.
“I believe it’s my democratic responsibility to offer myself, to be the best I can be. We should always look to improve and grow.”
Parsons said she was urged by House of Assembly members of all political stripes to put her name forward as the number of women in politics continues to lag.
Outside the legislature, Ball said Liberals were free to vote as they wished. He said he welcomed Parsons’s challenge.
“This was democracy in action today. We had a young woman who had an interest in doing this. It’s no different than the conversation that I had with Miss Parsons when she came to see me.
“I told her: ‘Go and do what you feel you should do. Follow your heart.”’
Trimper also commended her and said he looks forward to working with all members and the public — and to help increase women’s roles in politics.
“This is the people’s house, and I look forward to doing what I can to support the people of our province.”
Liberal MHA Pam Parsons said she would be excited to be the first woman Speaker of the House of Assembly.