Osborne won't quit for byelection after deciding future

Independent MHA Tom Osborne says he won't quit and seek the approval of voters in a byelection after making a final decision about his political future.

Independent MHA says he will likely take months to consult constituents; reaction mixed in district

Independent MHA Tom Osborne says he won’t quit and seek the approval of voters in a byelection after making a final decision about his political future.

"No, I don’t believe so," Osborne told reporters after announcing his departure from the Tory caucus earlier this week.

"That’s a considerable cost to the taxpayers. I’ve gotten enough feedback from my constituents."

Osborne said he had heard from people in his district in recent months — at social functions, and through phone calls — asking him to make a move from the Tories.

"My constituents elected me to represent them, and I’m going to continue to represent them," he said.

Osborne said he is open to offers to join the Liberals or New Democrats, or could ultimately opt to remain an Independent.

He expects it will take months to decide his political future, saying he wants to take the time to do a proper consultation with people in his district.

"I’m not going to put a time limit on that," Osborne said.

Osborne was first elected in St. John’s South in 1996 under the Tory banner.

He was re-elected four times, including last fall with Premier Kathy Dunderdale as party leader.

Osborne was sharply critical of Dunderdale in announcing his decision to bolt from the PC caucus, blaming her leadership for his departure.

The next provincial general election is not scheduled to occur until 2015.

District reaction

There was mixed reaction to the news in Osborne’s district.

"If he had a problem, why didn't he speak up then?" Marcella Hickey said.

Hickey has lived St. John's South since Osborne was first elected in 1996.

She feels betrayed by the timing of her MHA’s break-up with the PC party.

"Had I known that the person that I may be voting for would cross the floor, and took my support with him ... I think that's short of being deceitful."

Thomas Jordan also has issues with the timing, but says people in his neighbourhood are thrilled.

"Little bit late, but better late than never," Jordan said.

"Shea Heights was abuzz, there was a lot of people who I know personally called Tom Osborne, left messages on his Facebook site congratulating him for doing what was right."

Opinions are just as mixed on what Osborne should do now.

From her doorstep on Cabot Street, Mary Lush had this advice: "He should run for premier, perhaps."