Loyola Sullivan, a former Newfoundland and Labrador finance minister who is currently Canada's fisheries ambassador, said Tuesday he is returning to elected politics.

Sullivan told a room of supporters he is seeking the Conservative nomination in St. John's South-Mount Pearl, an often Tory riding that swung to Liberal Siobhan Coady in 2008.

"The time is right to begin the next chapter and re-enter the political forum," said Sullivan, who tendered his resignation as fisheries ambassador on Monday.

Sullivan, who is not expected to face a challenge for the Conservative nomination, praised Conservative Leader Stephen Harper as a strong leader who has guided Canada through a recession, and made the country "the envy of the world."

Although he had, as a provincial cabinet minister, once fought with the federal Conservatives on the Atlantic Accord issue, Sullivan offered an indirect response as to why Harper can be trusted now.

"We've turned a political corner and we want to move forward," he said.

"There's many, many issues out there, I think, that our province needs to be addressed in Ottawa."

Newfoundland and Labrador does not have its own representative in the federal cabinet.

Sullivan resigned as Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister  in December 2006, fuelling speculation that he had fallen out with then-premier Danny Williams.

Sullivan told supporters, who included several current Progressive Conservative MHAs, that he was proud of his role in the negotiations that led to the $2-billion deal in 2005 on the Atlantic Accord on offshore oil revenues.

Sullivan's decision sets the stage for what's expected to be a tight three-way race in St. John's South-Mount Pearl.

Coady is running again for the Liberals, while the NDP on Monday night nominated journalist Ryan Cleary — who placed a close second in 2008 — as its candidate.

Tory tide changing

Sullivan is one of several former provincial Tories to seek office in the current federal election campaign.

On Monday night, Senator Fabian Manning announced he is seeking a comeback in Avalon riding. He lost the seat in 2008 in the wake of the ABC campaign. Manning was a long-time Tory MHA, until he ran afoul of Williams and the rest of the PC caucus over fisheries policy in 2005.

Meanwhile, CBC News has learned that John Ottenheimer, a former provincial cabinet minister, will seek the Conservative nomination in Random-Burin-St. George's, which is currently held by Liberal MP Judy Foote.

Ottenheimer retired from provincial politics in 2007, citing concerns about his health. He currently chairs the Nalcor board of directors.