Won't be 'vindictive' with caucus, Lorraine Michael says
NDP will conduct leadership review next year
Lorraine Michael says she will not exact revenge on members of Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP caucus in the wake of a spectacularly divisive week that called her leadership into question.
"I'm not a vindictive person. I do not want to be vindictive as a leader," Michael told CBC on Monday morning, two days after she concluded a caucus meeting with an announcement that the provincial party will proceed with a leadership review next year.
Last week, the party was hit by a bombshell that the four other members of the caucus had written to Michael with a request that she agree to a leadership convention. Michael fired back with a CBC News interview that she felt betrayed by the caucus, whose members were split on how the matter had unfolded.
Michael said her position as leader remains solid, despite a raucous week.
"I was asked to resign in the letter that was put out. I have not resigned. I'm the leader of the party," Michael said.
Mandatory leadership reviews are common within the NDP across the country, but have not yet been used in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Michael said she supports such a move, even though some in the party - including former candidate and party executive member Noah Davis-Power - have argued that Michael has shut down questions about her leadership.
"I thought, let's move this forward very, very quickly," Michael said.
The party infighting last week saw St. John's East MHA George Murphy not only apologize to Michael for playing a part in the letter, but say that he could no longer trust St. John's North MHA Dale Kirby.
Michael said one of her priorities is to help the caucus move forward despite a public meltdown.
"One of my jobs as the leader, and it's certainly something that I'm up for, is to work with all the caucus members is to rebuild that trust," she said.
"I'm willing to take that on. I want to take it on. It's what has to happen."
Other members of the caucus are not commenting publicly on their meeting with Michael. Murphy and St. John's Centre MHA Gerry Rogers both described the meeting as useful in emails to CBC News. Kirby did not reply to CBC News.
Meanwhile, Michael said she is still processing what happened during the last week, in which the party's dirty laundry was exposed for all to see.
"It has been a very surreal experience. I'm still sort of pinching myself to say,'Is this happening?'" she said.
"But we're all working together. Part of the surreal nature of it is that you keep moving. I guess some day it will be more a sense of reality to me, what we've been through."