Paul Lane says he still respects Kathy Dunderdale
'Politics is a tough business,' Mount Pearl South MHA says
Paul Lane, the former Tory caucus chair who crossed the floor just two days before Kathy Dunderdale announced she was stepping down as premier, said he still has high regard for Dunderdale but retains his sharp criticism of her government.
"Politics is a tough business," Lane told CBC News Tuesday night as he attended a St. John's event for young parliamentarians.
"Kathy Dunderdale has certainly made a tremendous contribution to the province as a whole in a number of portfolios for many years and, you know, I think that she felt that the time was right," he said.
Lane, who represents St. John's South, joined the Liberal caucus on Jan. 20, while blaming Dunderdale and the governing Tories for being out of touch with ordinary people.
"I felt that our goverment had lost its way and wasn't listening to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Lane, whose decision to cross the floor preceded a similar move on Tuesday by former New Democrats Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore.
Lane said he is not too worried about a backlash from his constituents.
"I stand by my decision," he said. "Ultimately, it will be up to them to decide on election day whether or not they support the decision I made, but I'm very comfortable that they do."
The recent moves of MHAs across the floor, which also include former PC cabinet minister Tom Osborne, who joined the Liberals last summer, were the talk on the floor at Tuesday night's launch of the 50th Youth Parliament at The Rooms.
Ryan Steeves, a young Liberal, said crossing the floor is a necessary part of the parliamentary system.
"I'm perfectly fine with it because the people who voted for these politicians voted for the individual and that individual shouldn't be forced to obey a party line," he said.
The 11-member Liberal caucus now includes four members who had been elected to other parties.