Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons says she’s been getting encouragement to run for the Speaker’s job in the wake of a seismic shake-up in the Liberal government on Monday, but denies she’s being a maverick.
“I have been encouraged by colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and also from my federal colleagues,” Parsons said Tuesday morning, without offering any names.
The Newfoundland and Labrador political landscape was upended Monday when political powerhouse and Windsor Lake MHA Cathy Bennett announced she was quitting cabinet after 20 months in the key role of finance minister.
That precipitated a cabinet shuffle in the afternoon, with Premier Dwight Ball selecting Waterford Valley MHA and House Speaker Tom Osborne as Bennett’s replacement.
In the process, Ball also named his preferred choice to replace Osborne in the Speaker’s chair: Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper, who was removed from cabinet during Monday’s shuffle.
The Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Assembly, and was historically selected by the premier.
But that rule was changed in 2003, allowing MHAs to vote in a Speaker, with Osborne being the first to win a contested election in late 2015.
Parsons wants to talk with the premier
The House of Assembly is scheduled to reopen on Aug. 8 for the purpose of electing a new Speaker.
By publicly acknowledging her interest in the job, Parsons is effectively defying the wishes of her leader.
‘Even if I’m not successful, we need more women in politics.’
– Pam Parsons
“I will be reaching out and asking our caucus to support Perry as Speaker of the House of Assembly,” Ball told reporters Monday.
He also described Trimper as a “remarkable individual” who would “do a great job as a Speaker.”
Parsons says her consideration to run for Speaker does not make her a rebel.
“Out of respect for the premier and Perry, I’m going to have a conversation with the premier. I’d like to do that (before making a decision),” Parsons said.
In a list of names dating back to 1832, there has never been a female Speaker in the House of Assembly.
Parsons, 37, said she’s well qualified for the…