Joan Shea's replacement must have local focus: business group

A business leader warns that the next MHA for St. George's-Stephenville East must do a better job than Joan Shea in representing the district's constituents.
Bob Byrnes says people in the St. George's-Stephenville East district aren't pleased with Joan Shea's performance as an MHA. (CBC)

The residents of St. George's-Stephenville East will soon have a new MHA, following this week's resignation of former cabinet minister Joan Shea, with a business leader already warning that her replacement will have to do a better job of representing constituents. 

Shea, a front-bench minister in the Tory goverment since 2003, stepped down as MHA for the district on Monday. She told reporters at a news conference that she started to feel like the didn't have the energy needed to get the job done.

Joan Shea announced her resignation from the House of Assembly on Monday. (CBC)
Bob Byrnes, president of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce, said many people in the area were less than satisfied with Shea's performance as their MHA.

"If you're not willing to step up and give 100 per cent to the people who have put you in that position of trust, then perhaps you should think seriously about running," he said.

He acknowledged that it was a hard job for anyone to do, but a district needs to be the priority.

"It's not an easy job — it's a very difficult job," he said.

"You have party lines that you have to tow, but at the end of the day, it's not the party that put you in power, it's the people of the district, and I think when you go around this district and look at the lack of things that have been done, there are a lot of people who are upset, perhaps, with Joan Shea and the lack of representation that she's given them," said Byrnes.

No date for the byelection has been announced yet.

With files from Jeremy Eaton