Tories react with surprise, Grits with open arms, as Lane changes teams

James McLeod
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Mount Pearl South MHA Paul Lane’s decision to switch loyalties from the PC party to the Liberals sent the political world into overdrive, Monday.

Former PC health minister Paul Oram said with Premier Kathy Dunderdale still at the helm, it was only a matter of time before people started jumping ship. — Telegram file photo

The Liberals welcomed him with open arms at Smitty’s Restaurant in Mount Pearl, while members of the PC party mostly seemed to react with disbelief.

“If you’d have asked me on Sunday, I would have said, ‘No b’y, he’s as solid as anyone,’” said Tom Hedderson, parliamentary secretary to the premier. “It’s a shock.”

The last time an MHA left the Tory caucus, it was Tom Osborne, and he was subjected to the full force of the governing party’s vitriol.

But if the reaction to Osborne’s defection was, “Good riddance,” as Environment Minister Joan Shea put it, the reaction to Lane was more subdued.

“That’s a decision he made, and I guess he’ll have to live by,” Hedderson said. “It’s business as usual for us and it’s just unfortunate that one of our members decided this wasn’t the place for him, and he moved on.”

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent didn’t seem interested in taking any hard shots at Lane either.

“I’m as surprised and disappointed as anybody by Paul Lane’s announcement,” Kent said. “I was not aware that he was contemplating this move.”

Ministers Charlene Johnson, Clyde Jackman and Susan Sullivan all said the move was a surprise, too, but none of them really seemed interested in going for a vicious attack either.

One person who was on the attack was former PC health minister Paul Oram.

Oram said with Premier Kathy Dunderdale still at the helm, it was only a matter of time before people started jumping ship. He’s been calling for her to step aside since last fall when the party lost a critical byelection in Carbonear-Harbour Grace.

“I, for one, think that we still have time as a party to turn this around, but I think we need a new leader,” he said Monday.

“We’re going to have a very difficult time trying to win this next election with Kathy Dunderdale there. In fact, I don’t think we can, quite frankly.”

But back at Smitty’s, the Liberals were happy to have Lane on their team, even if he was once a fierce opponent.

“It’s like a hockey team. Trades happen,” MP Scott Andrews said. “That’s part of it.”

Adam Quirk, president of the Young Liberals, said things are getting so bad for the government that even the most ardent Conservatives want out.

“It’s a great show of how far the PC party has fallen and how much momentum the Liberal Party has,” he said.

Former Liberal MP Siobhan Coady said there’s room for just about anyone in the Liberal party.

“We are very fiscally responsible. We’re socially progressive. That is what the Liberal party is,” she said.

“So there are some Liberals that are a little more right-leaning, there are some members that are a little more left-leaning, but we all come together to be very centralist.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Tory, Liberal Party

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Carbonear-Harbour Grace

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Recent comments

  • dan
    January 21, 2014 - 09:40

    Can't wait for 2015 when we can all say "Good riddance" to Shea and her CON buddies!

  • saelcove
    January 21, 2014 - 09:19

    the man is a coward he could not face dunderdale he waited for her to leave on vacation, he can not be trusted

  • Robb
    January 21, 2014 - 08:05

    Lane is nothing short of a traitor. I know if I was in Mt. Pearl, I would be furious. They should absolutely band together and demand that this opportunistic creep resign, and shame on Ball for entertaining this. Makes him look like just as much a traitor, accepting a PC into the liberal fold. These outrageous pensions have got to stop too. When are the voting population going to put an end to the barbaric policy of a full pension after two session in gov't?

  • A
    January 21, 2014 - 07:11

    Really? This has, " sent the political world into overdrive"? Empires are collapsing, nations are scrambling, economies are spiralling out of control because Paul Lane was sick of Cora's. I'm sorry. I honestly do not follow politics, and have no idea who Mr. Lane is, but I just found that line really funny.

  • W. Bagg
    January 21, 2014 - 06:28

    no one seems surprised because everyone is thinking about crossing the floor too. Self Preservation

  • typo
    January 21, 2014 - 06:09

    don't you mean former pc health minister

  • Randy
    January 21, 2014 - 06:09

    How come he didn't go to the NDP? Oh ya Lorianne Michaels don't want any more MHAs. She had too many already and had to get rid of a few!

  • Crazy
    January 21, 2014 - 04:51

    Siobhan - In other words, if you kisses the party ass, your welcome aboard? That a bad way to look at things, At one time in the liberals party history, they were there for the people.