Judy Manning to wait until next election to run for seat
Unelected minister sets sights on Placentia-St. Mary's in next general election
Judy Manning, the lawyer whose appointment to Newfoundland and Labrador's cabinet on Tuesday surprised political circles, says she will not run in any of several upcoming byelections.
Premier Paul Davis chose Manning, who has yet to run for public office, to serve as minister of public safety, a department that combines the former justice portfolio with the Fire and Emergency Services division. She also is now attorney-general.
Manning told reporters she does not intend to seek a nomination in any of the three byelections that will have to be held in the coming months, and will wait instead for Davis to call a general election next year.
"At this time, I'm satisfied with the mandate that I've been given by Premier Davis," Manning said.
Byelections are already needed to replace former finance minister Charlene Johnson in Trinity-Bay de Verde and former justice minister Terry French in Conception Bay South. As well, former premier Tom Marshall has made no secret of his plans to retire, making a byelection in Humber East probable.
'Disturbing' move, Ball says
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said it's "disturbing" that Judy Manning won't sit in the House of Assembly anytime soon.
"This unelected member (will) not run in three upcoming byelections and the premier seems satisfied with that," said Ball, who described the new Department of Public Safety as a "desperate" attempt by the PCs to rebrand the government.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael questioned what will happen to the justice part of the department.
"Justice is much broader than just safety and security," she said.
Michael also takes issue with the fact that Manning will not challenge for a seat in an upcoming byelection, and won't sit in the House of Assembly in the upcoming session.
"Judy Manning won't be handling questions in the cut and thrust of Question Period debate," said Michael. "That responsibility will fall to one of the elected MHAs to field those questions for her."
Planning to run in Placentia-St. Mary's
Manning, who is the niece of Conservative Senator Fabian Manning, operated a solo law practice in St. John's before her appointment.
She said she intends to serve in the government as an unelected minister, and will run in the next election in Placentia-St. Mary's — a seat now held by former PC minister Felix Collins.
"Quite frankly, I'm from St. Bride's on the Cape Shore. My heart is in St. Bride's, and [the] only district that I would want to seek election in is Placentia-St. Mary's," said Manning.
"I'm very happy to defer to the choice of Premier Davis in choosing to put me in this portfolio and I will be doing my best to serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Without a seat in the House of Assembly, Manning will not be able to vote on government bills, nor answer questions from the Opposition on matters affecting her portfolio.
Davis said he respected Manning's preference to seek a seat in her home district.
"We haven't finalized when the next election will be, but she has committed to run there, and I'm satisfied with that commitment," Davis said.
Newfoundland and Labrador has had several unelected cabinet ministers over the years. Most recently, then-premier Clyde Wells asked former Liberal leader Edward Roberts to join his cabinet in February 1992. Four months later, Roberts was elected in a byelection in the central Labrador district of Naskaupi, now known as Lake Melville.