Voters, NDPers not happy with MHA defection

Not everyone in St. John's North is happy with the new Liberal status of MHA Dale Kirby, who switched his political stripes earlier this week.
St. John's North residents and NDPers are less than pleased with Dale Kirby's party switch 3:41

Not everyone in St. John's North is happy with the new Liberal status of MHA Dale Kirby, who switched his political stripes earlier this week. 

Kirby, along with The Straits-White Bay North MHA Christopher Mitchelmore, quit the NDP caucus to sit as Independents in October, and both joined the Liberal party.

Some residents in Kirby's district are upset that their elected official switched to a different party than the one they voted for.

"He's an NDP — we voted him in as NDP. Let him go out and then get voted in as a Liberal," said resident Ruby Owens.

Others had criticism for politicians of all colours who switch political sides.

"I'm not very impressed with anybody who walks across the floor, to be honest," said Paul Mighton. "I think it's a matter of convenience for them as opposed to keeping their bow into the wind and weathering the storm."

'You don't throw in the towel'

Lukas Norman, associate president of the provincial NDP and an NDP candidate in Gander during the 2011 election, said he's disappointed with the loss of Kirby and Mitchelmore to another party.

"When the going gets tough, you don't throw in the towel and go for what looks opportunistic and join a party that you see as winning," Norman said.

"You stay and fight for what you believe in and you try and work from the inside of the organization that you've been a party of to make a positive change."

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said she's aware the party needs to do some serious work to repair the damage following the party's implosion last fall.

"I'm not crazy when it comes to this. I do understand the work that has to be done to rebuild and we're doing that. I have every hope that we are going to build back up to where we were and beyond," she said.

Michael said focusing on getting good candidates in place for the next provincial election is a big part of rebuilding the party's strength, along with doing the legwork to keep the party visible in the public eye.


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