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Mixed emotions from Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MPs after Wilson-Raybould, Philpott ousted

Jody Wilson-Raybould, left, and Jane Philpott speak at the 2016 Liberal convention. - The Chronicle Herald
Jody Wilson-Raybould (left) and Jane Philpott speak at the 2016 Liberal convention. - The Chronicle Herald

St. John’s East MP Nick Whalen likens situation to a Shakespearean tragedy

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The ejection of former federal cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the federal cabinet is being met with mixed emotions from Liberal MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his decision to eject Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from the federal Liberal caucus on Tuesday evening, after speaking with Liberal caucus members for their input on the decision.

Wilson-Raybould recently released a recording of a conversation with outgoing Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, which drew the scorn of many in the Liberal caucus.

In recent months, Philpott cited a lack of confidence in Trudeau’s cabinet in relation to the controversy that has engulfed the Trudeau government since February.

Both those actions were cited by Trudeau as why Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were removed from the Liberal caucus.

Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan says he’s ready to move on.

“On Monday we got a 2.5-billion-dollar deal for Newfoundland and Labrador through the Atlantic Accord. I’m all about the work,” O’Regan said in a statement.

“That’s why people sent me here. We need to concentrate on the work and get back to doing the work. I was asked to do a job. Not to put on a show.”

Nick Whelan.
Nick Whelan.

St. John’s East MP Nick Whalen says it’s a “tragedy” to lose them both, but ultimately he supports the decision.

“It’s just so tragic. It’s almost like a Shakespearean tragedy. Just like in a Shakespearean tragedy, everyone at the end is dead,” said Whalen.

“I’m not personally involved in any of it, so I’m just trying to be patient, which is difficult as an MP sometimes. I’m also trying to apply the adage that my good friend Jim Thistle always said, which is never subscribe to malice, that which can be chaulked up to ignorance. In this case, we have two groups of people who were not understanding each other, and they were focused on different things. It just degenerated through some fatal flaw.”

Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings says trust and faith within the Liberal caucus was damaged by the SNC-Lavalin controversy and the roles played by Wilson-Raybould and Philpott.

“Without acting as a united team, with trust and faith in one another, we will not be able to produce many of these results. Canadians are depending upon us to do the best for them and their families, and to work to provide a strong future for all,” Hutchings wrote in an email.

“A difficult decision was made, but a necessary decision. However, I am now confident that, as your government, and as a team, we are prepared to move forward, focused on Canadians to keep doing the good work we were elected to do.”

Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms says he found the recording troubling, primarily because it was released. But he’s not sure he would have made the same decision, were he in the prime minister’s shoes.

“Philpott, you know, she did express that she wasn’t confident in the cabinet at that time and I personally don’t think, in my opinion, that doesn’t constitute her being kicked out,” Simms said.

“I was one of the MPs who said, basically, I didn’t recommend kicking them out the way they were.”

Avalon MP Ken McDonald echoed similar sentiments as his colleagues, stating he was saddened by the move, but felt it was ultimately necessary.

Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers and Labrador MP Yvonne Jones did not provide comment before deadline.

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL


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