When MHA Christopher Mitchelmore announced he would join the Liberal Party on Tuesday, he done so without the knowledge of the Straits-White Bay North Liberal Association.
© Adam Randell photo
Mitchelmore, sporting a red tie, shakes hands with constituents as he enters the Grenfell Interpretation Centre, in St. Anthony, to announce he’s joining the Liberal Party. — TC Media file photo
The association provides grassroots support and fundraising for area Liberals.
The group’s president, Kaye Gilbert, said she was never asked to attend or asked how the association felt about bringing Mitchelmore into the Liberals.
“As president I wasn’t consulted,” she said. “I never received a call, an email or anything otherwise stating that this was happening. It was a lack of communication on the part of the provincial party.”
Gilbert didn’t know if others in the association had been contacted, as she wasn’t able to reach the other four members before deadline.
One other member — who didn’t want to be identifed — said no contact was made.
Gilbert strongly believes the association should have been told.
“They are always talking about grassroots, and all these little Liberal associations are the ones on the ground doing the grass roots work for the provincial Liberal Party,” she said.
“I’m not saying anything bad about Christopher Mitchelmore at all, but to me there should have been enough consideration to even just notify us that this was happening.”
She also noted the association had been notified about other happenings in the past.
“I don’t know how this is going to play in things now, we haven’t even been introduced to Mitchelmore as our new MHA,” she said. “We would have to sit for a meeting to discuss.”
Mitchelmore may have some competition when the call for nominations is made.
For some time Jerome Ward, special assistant to Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, had expressed his interest in seeking the Liberal nomination for the next election.
Ward said he wasn’t shocked that Mitchelmore joined the Liberals, but always felt that anyone crossing the floor to join the Liberals, no matter the party, should sit independent for the remainder of the term being served and seek the nomination for the next election — the same as anyone else.
“I’m so busy with everything that is going on, on the Northern Peninsula with Gerry’s riding, I haven’t given any great thought to what is unfolding (with Mitchelmore),” he said. “From Day 1 I said I was interested in the nomination. I’m still interested in the nomination. When the time rolls around, things unfold and nominations gets called, Jerome Ward could very well be there.”