Two Newfoundland journalists try politics

In Newfoundland, two prominent journalists have crossed the battlefield to run in the Oct 14th general election. And it’s not pretty.

Ryan Cleary, former editor of the now defunct weekly newspaper, the Independent, won the nomination for the NDP in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl. And Craig Westcott, editor and publisher of The Business Post, for the Conservatives in St. John’s East.  Both seats have been vacated by retiring Conservative MPs.

Both have gotten a rough ride from their former colleagues in the first week of campaigning. It’s seems that both have written things in the past that have raised questions over their decision to run for the parties they chose.

Westcott is well known for his hard line on Premier Danny Williams and the provincial government, but he has also said some bad things about Stephen Harper.  (more from CBC)

…But his words were not as bad as what Mr. Cleary said about Jack Layton and the NDP in his past editorials. The Telegram was nice enough to dig up those editorials and fired the first shot the morning after Mr. Cleary’s win:

“Cheers: to bygones being bygones. Now, politics makes strange bedfellows, but it’s more than fascinating that former Independent editor Ryan Cleary spent time last week considering running for the New Democrats. After all, in his columns, he’s never had much good to say about the party. “The New Democrats are losers – there, I said it – a mainstream party that wouldn’t win an election if Jackie Layton was given a 100-seat head start…. I’d have more respect for the NDP if they actually set out to win an election – instead of settling for spoiler.” Furthermore, “the NDP (are) content to cater to the small pocket of aging granolas and artsy fartsies in Town” and “are desperate in the dream department.” It’s a regular theme: “The New Democrats are no more a provincial party than Water Street in downtown St. John’s is a provincial highway. Lorraine Michael is no more a potential premier than John Hickey is a potential finance minister.” “Despite the backing of most of the major unions, the New Democrats – outside the aging granolas in east end St. John’s and the union crowd in Labrador City – are a lame political duck…. Peg Norman is one of the few names bandied about as potential leadership material. If she had any sense she’d join the Liberals – at least then, if successful, she’d have 11 other losers to hang out with.” Yep. A political match made in heaven. Or else he hopes party members have short memories.”

The national press corp, not known for its gentle manner, in town with Jack Layton last week, crucified him. It started with local reporters asking the obvious of Jack Layton during a morning campaign stop. But then the big guys smelled blood and latched on during the afternoon session at the university. NDP message track was trashed. See  Ryans First Scrum. 

Never mind the Danny Williams conservative clan feud with Stephen Harper, this is the best story out of the election so far in Newfoundland. Let this be a lesson in j-school. What you write will get shoved back down your throat eventually…and sometimes by your “friends.”