Thistle to run for Liberal nod in Humber East

Chris Quigley cquigley@thewesternstar.com
Published on March 8, 2014
Former Steady Brook mayor Donna Thistle hopes to run for the provincial Liberal party in the next provincial election in the district of Humber East.
— File photo

Donna Thistle believes it’s time for women to take a greater involvement in politics.

“More women have to step forward and offer themselves for office if the whole relationship is ever going to change between genders,” she said Friday.

Thistle, a well-known Corner Brook businesswoman and community activist, will be seeking the Liberal nomination for Humber East in the next provincial election.

Currently, Premier Tom Marshall holds the seat for the Progressive Conservative Party. Marshall was first elected in 2003 and is expected to retire following this term.

Thistle served as Steady Brook mayor from 2009 to 2013, also acting as town manager for three months. It was during those four years she realized how much she enjoyed the political life.

“I like the fact you can do things,” she said. “You can get involved.”

A long-time Liberal supporter, Thistle actually challenged for the Humber East nomination back in 1996, when Bob Mercer was successful in obtaining it.

“I have always been Liberal,” she said. “My philosophies are Liberal.”

She was approached to take a run at provincial politics during the last provincial election in 2011, but was in the midst of her mayoral term in Steady Brook.

“I don’t think it’s kosher to quit in the middle of a term,” she said. “I wanted to finish my term as mayor, which I did.”

Since returning to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1986, Thistle has been active in community, provincial and national governance boards and service groups as well as owning and operating a flower shop and internet café.

She is currently the owner-operator of Gitanos Supper Club and Tapas Bar in Corner Brook.

Prior to 1989, Thistle taught in the Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador community college systems. She has post-secondary education in hotel management, vocational education and business and economics.

She has written a number of political columns, directed at re-engaging the general public in the political system and encouraging a more inclusive type of politics. In addition to working toward changing the dynamic between voters and politicians, she believes that preparing our provinces municipal infrastructure for climate change is the most underestimated crisis facing us as a province.

When her term as mayor of Steady Brook ended in September 2013, she also closed her flower shop and café so she would have the necessary freedom to explore this opportunity in provincial politics.

“I’ve narrowed down my business ventures,” she said. “I think my life is better positioned to do it now than it was in the past.”