Former NDP MHAs Christopher Mitchelmore and Dale Kirby made it public Tuesday in separate news conferences that they will be joining the provincial Liberals.
The two rowed out with their old party after a messy and ill-conceived attempt by members of the caucus to force leader Lorraine Michael to call for a leadership review.
Nothing much was said about where Mitchelmore and Kirby would land if they did choose to join another party, but it was clear they wouldn’t have much in common with the Tories and they had burned their bridges with the NDP.
That left the Liberals — a party that is more closely aligned with the NDP on most social issues. There was even talk after the last federal election that the national Liberals and the NDP should merge in an attempt to unseat the Harper Conservatives.
Mitchelmore and Kirby have been sitting as independents since their messy departures and have now thrown their lot in with Dwight Ball’s Liberals.
It’s another coup for Opposition Leader Ball who has seen his caucus grow to 11 after these latest recruits join Tom Osborne and Paul Lane, who both left the PCs.
Welcoming the MHAs who are changing parties does bring some advantages for the Liberals who will now have the right to hire more staff and even more time for questions in the house when it opens. That will give Ball and his followers more time in front of the cameras to convince voters they are willing and able to run the province better than the other parties when election time rolls around. The downside is having members in the caucus who are joining up because they couldn’t get along with their colleagues in their previous parties and not because they believe in the Liberal approach.
The Liberal party in this province is growing in strength by welcoming those who are jumping from other parties, but they had better be wary of getting more political intrigue than they bargained for.