The ghost of Joey Smallwood must be smiling down upon "the Rock" these days. His spirit animates the bombastic Progressive Conservative premier, Danny Williams, who made major waves (and earned himself major electoral dividends) by playing brinksmanship with the oil companies, and by playing hardball with the Conservative government in Ottawa. And then, there's the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party.
True, this is a provincial rights party. But, unlike the now-defunct Ontario Party, or the Western Block Party, or the Bloc Quebecois, it does not appear to have secessionist aspirations ... yet. Instead, it seeks to work within the framework of Confederation to lobby for better terms and arrangements on core issues affecting Newfoundland and Labrador. The party has been led by Tim Hickey since its founding in 2005, but Hickey stepped down as leader on August 13, 2008 (only weeks prior to the election call). the NLFP pledges :
- to restore government services in rural communities
- to stop out migration
- to stand up for rural rights
- to maintain our way of life and culture
- to restore our traditional hunting and fishing rights
- to petition for joint management of our fishery
Make no mistake about it. You haven't heard the last of the Atlantic Accord. At least not from Newfoundland.
The NLFP became eligible for official party status in July 2008, and by September, it had received the official okey dokey to nominate candidates for the federal election. According to The Official NL First Party Blog, the party had nominated two candidates as of September 15, 2008. However, the press releases from the party's website indicate three candidates nominated prior to the deadline.
- Greg Byrne, St. John's South-Mount Pearl
- Wayne Bennett, Humber-St.Barbe-Baie Verte.
- Les Coultas, St. John's East
So, raise a glass to "the Rock's" own trio of political guerrillas in the mist.