Lorraine Michael not worried about leadership challenge

A week before she faces Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats, party leader Lorraine Michael says she's taking a challenge from a former opponent in stride.
Lorraine Michael will face members of Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP next weekend in St. John's. (CBC)

A week before she faces Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats, party leader Lorraine Michael says she's taking a challenge from a former opponent in stride. 

Nina Patey, who placed a distant second to Michael during 2006's leadership convention, has told her Twitter followers she will "try and dethrone Lorraine" at next weekend's convention in St. John's. 

On Point this weekend

What's the future of the NDP? Guest host Peter Cowan convenes a panel discussion. Tune in Saturday at 7:30 NT 

Michael told reporters that Patey's efforts are part of democracy. 

"Ms. Patey is a member of the party and every member of the party is welcome at convention and they're welcome to come and behave at convention whichever way they believe they want to," Michael said. 

"I look forward to next weekend."

The leadership meeting was called last fall, after the NDP caucus was torn apart over questions about Michael's leadership. The party agreed to a review, rather than a new leadership race, with dissident MHAs Christopher Mitchelmore and Dale Kirby later leaving the party and joining the Liberal caucus. 

Their departures brought the size of the NDP caucus from five to three. 

Nina Patey wants delegates to next weekend's NDP convention to vote No in Lorraine Michael's leadership. (Twitter)
Last fall's implosion also triggered a sudden drop in support in public opinion polls. A Corporate Research Associates poll in March found the NDP had 13 per cent support of the electorate, down steeply from 39 per cent one year earlier. 

As well, only 11 per cent of those polled named Michael as their choice as premier among the political leaders behind Dwight Ball and Tom Marshall, respectively. 

Patey, who ran for the NDP federally and provincially in the 1980s, launched a campaign against Michael in 2006 for the provincial leadership. However, she won only five votes at the party's convention, while Michael took 107. 

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