Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals, NDP open to talks with Osborne

Newfoundland and Labrador's two opposition parties both say they could find a place on their team for Tom Osborne.

Long-time Tory MHA quit PC caucus on Thursday to sit as an Independent

Tom Osborne takes calls from Radio Noon listeners in the CBC studios on Friday. The Liberals and New Democrats both say they are open to talks with the Independent MHA. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's two opposition parties both say they could find a place on their team for Tom Osborne.

Osborne was the longest-serving Tory MHA in the house of assembly until his defection on Thursday from the PCs. He's been in the legislature since 1996.

He will sit as an Independent for now, but indicated he could join another party.

Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons says having someone like Osborne in the fold would be good for his party.

The Liberals have not had an MHA in the seat-rich northeast Avalon and metro St. John's region since 2003. Osborne represents the urban riding of St. John's South.

"We'd welcome him in," Parsons said. "He'd fit in very nicely. It's no secret we don't have a St. John's presence right now in our party. To have someone like Tom with his history and background in this city would certainly be a bonus to us."

Ball in Osborne's court

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says she's also open to discussions with Osborne.

Michael says the the ball is in his court. 

"He's the one who has to let us know if this is something that he's interested in, and if he is, I'm willing to explore it with him," Michael said.

"Because one would have to explore it ... make sure that he would understand who our party is, what we stand for, what our policies are."

A move to the New Democrats would give them the same number of seats as the Liberals, with six.

That would create an intriguing situation in the legislature, with the Speaker ultimately deciding who would form the Official Opposition.

Osborne says he wants to take a few months and consult with his constituents before making a decision.