It was a very interesting weekend in St. John's as far as the future of our City Council is concerned. First of all, as I blogged about earlier today, I announced in the Weekend Telegram newspaper, my intention to seek a seat on the City Council in the Sept 23, 2013 Election.
Later that day, the provincial NDP Party (which I am a member of) held a fundraising dinner event (which I did not attend due to financial and other logistical reasons). During this event, keynote speaker Thomas Mulcair, the new leader of the national NDP party, made a surprising endorsement towards existing city councillor 'at large' Sheilagh O'Leary. Tom stated that he supported and endorsed her candidacy and stated that he would be back in Newfoundland next year, essentially to help ensure she got elected as Mayor! Apparently, this caught Sheilagh off guard as she has not made any formal announcement regarding her candidacy in 2013 for any position.
For a national political party leader to endorse a mayoral candidate, especially one whom he admitted he had just recently met, seems like a rather suspicious political ploy. But it is what it is, and it created tons of reaction the next day! Existing mayor Dennis O'Keefe was critical of the endorsement, suggesting that he has run without the banner of a provincial or federal political party. he also announced his intention to seek re-election in 2013, and to do so without political affiliation.
later that day, Premier Kathy Dunderdale critisized Mulcair for sticking his nose into a situation that she felt it didn't belong.
Anyway, I am glad people are starting to talk about municipal politics here 16 months before the election. low voter turnout has always plaged these elections. Getting more people engaged should lead to greater voices being heard, greater candidates seeking nomination, and the best candidates getting elected. I am looking forward to being part of this mix!
On the note of political affiliations, I must be honest that I am currently assessing my status as a member of both a provincial and national political party (NDP). I have some big decisions to make in terms of determining whether it is going to be helpful or harmful for me.