Nfld. & Labrador

NDP supporters come out swinging at Ryan Cleary amid political shakeup

Social media was alit with anger, disappointment, hope and a few jokes, after the worst kept secret in Newfoundland and Labrador political news was confirmed Friday.

Cleary seeking Tory nomination in district of Windsor Lake

Defeated NDP MP Ryan Cleary is seeking the Tory nomination in the district of Windsor Lake. (CBC)

Social media was alit with anger, disappointment, hope and a few jokes, after the worst kept secret in Newfoundland and Labrador political news was confirmed Friday, with the announcement that Ryan Cleary is a Tory.

The defeated NDP MP is moving on to provincial politics, and is seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in the district of Windsor Lake.

For those who worked alongside Cleary during his not-so-long ago federal NDP days, the news came as an unpleasant surprise. 

Fellow defeated NDP MP Claudette Menchenton says she doesn't have an issue with Cleary switching parties but questions how quickly the decision was made. (Facebook)

Mary Shortall, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, took to Facebook Friday afternoon to condemn Cleary for his decision.

"To Ryan Cleary: this from me who just buried her mom today," Shortall posted to her page. "1) I put your campaign in front of her when she needed me because I believed in you. 2) I was wrong obviously — shame on me. 3) Shame on you." 

(Facebook)

Peg Normer, an NDP supporter and former federal candidate, said she and other volunteers shifted from helping Jack Harris to working on Cleary's campaign because they thought the veteran politician needed their help less. 

"We foolishly assumed that Jack was safe, and Ryan was at the greatest risk of losing his seat," Norman wrote.

"This move is clearly an indictment of Ryan's dishonesty and disloyalty. This is clearly the actions of a person who has absolutely no understanding of political ideology and is solely motivated by a narcissistic attempt to be on top."

Rick Page says he worked on Ryan Cleary's NDP campaign. (Facebook)

Like any big political bombshell and party defection, the shock and disappointment was met with a healthy dose of humour.

Someone even went to the trouble of creating a fictitious online advertisement on website Kijiji selling off used orange neckties — a clear dig at Cleary.

"All are orange in colour, some are tear-stained but otherwise in good condition," the ad read.

"One was a gift from my former boss Tom, he used to be the next Prime Minister of Canada but you probably haven't heard of him."

About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

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