NDP will be 'even stronger' after caucus uproar, MHA says
MHA Dale Kirby hung out to dry, former NDP exec says
The embattled NDP caucus in Newfoundland and Labrador has imposed a media blackout on a leadership crisis that exploded this week, although one MHA has told constituents the party will come through the furor.
"As an NDP MHA we've had a tough few days," St. John's Centre MHA Gerry Rogers told a forum on seniors' issues on Wednesday night.
Rogers said she would not delve into why she and other MHAs asked Leader Lorraine Michael to support a leadership convention for next year — a move that Michael has interpreted as a call for her resignation.
"It's been really, really tough, and I know perhaps many of you have questions about what's been going on we are working through our issues. I'm confident that we are going to come out of this even stronger," said Rogers, who apologized earlier in the week for how the caucus presented its concerns to Michael.
The letter outraged many New Democrats, and led to public bickering between MHAs George Murphy and Dale Kirby, with Murphy alleging that Kirby had pressured him.
Rogers acknowledged the public outrage in her comments.
"I have listened to everything and I know I am confident with every fibre of my being that we are going to come out of this stronger," she said.
"It's been very, very difficult particularly for people who have great hopes and trust in the work that we do."
Kirby thrown under bus, former candidate says
Meanwhile, a former member of the NDP executive says other members of the party caucus have thrown MHA Dale Kirby under the bus.
On Wednesday, St. John's Centre MHA George Murphy said he cannot trust Kirby any longer, and alleged that Kirby pressured him to go through with the letter that Michael has interpreted as a call for her resignation.
Noah Davis-Power said he doesn't condone the back-tracking by some members, especially Murphy.
"I think that hanging Dale out to dry is absolutely disgusting," said Davis-Power, who ran for the party in the district of Conception Bay South in 2011 when he was just 18.
"They signed the letter, no one was holding anyone at gunpoint, and you'd have to be a lot bigger than Dale is to get George Murphy, to force him into anything. I really don't agree with that," he said.
"I was very shocked to see that George had actually come out and turned on Dale entirely, a complete 180 spin. I wasn't as surprised when Ms. Rogers had apologized yesterday. Though she didn't completely say the leadership review was unnecessary, she did apologize for the way that it happened."
MHA Christopher Mitchelmore said on Wednesday that he stands by his decision to put his signature on the letter.
Issues with Michael common within party
Davis-Power said he wasn't at all surprised to hear about the letter that was emailed to Michael.
He said there were numerous back-room discussions about a lack of faith in Michael and her leadership, but no one had been up to the task of approaching her with the possibility of a convention.
It was Lorraine's way or the highway.- Noah Davis-Power
"The rumblings that have been happening within the party, on the party board, in the general public, have been very prominent for years now, ever since I've been there, most certainly," he said.
"The only thing that surprised me about this letter was that Ms. Rogers signed it."
He added that questioning the leadership is "a very taboo topic" within the party.
"Ms. Michael hasn't been very receptive to the question of any leadership review and her supporters are very adamant that she stay, as well, so that did obviously squish any opposition that there has been until now."
Leadership cited as reason for departure
Davis-Power said one of the biggest reasons he left the party had to do with leadership.
"The leadership was one of the reasons that I cited in my leaving, actually. I didn't like the direction that Ms. Michael had been bringing the party. I still don't like the direction that she's bringing the party," he said.
"It was Lorraine's way or the highway."
He said that while he isn't involved with the party any more, he's glad some of the dissent with leadership has come to light.
"It's been questioned before whether Dale [Kirby] would do this or not and I'm glad, looking on the outside in now, that he did do it and he's holding his ground," Davis-Power said.
"I think that if the NDP is going to hold any ground ... and hold the five seats now after this political disaster, there needs to be a leadership change."