POLITICS

Pam Parsons, N.L. MHA, Loses Bid To Become 1st Female Speaker

The premier wanted someone else for the job.

08/08/2017 11:41 EDT | Updated 08/08/2017 13:45 EDT
Facebook/Pam Parsons

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Pam Parsons has lost her bid to become Newfoundland and Labrador's first female Speaker.

The first-term Liberal backbencher lost to Perry Trimper in a secret ballot by the 40 legislature members in St. John's.

An actual vote count was not released.

Trimper was the man Premier Dwight Ball had publicly tapped for the job.

Parsons, a 37-year-old former journalist, had said she wasn't trying to sow rifts among the governing Liberals by running against the premier's choice.

She said she was urged by House of Assembly members of all political stripes to put her name forward as the number of women in politics continues to lag.

Chris Wattie / Reuters
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball takes part in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill on Dec. 9, 2015.

"We believe that she has the necessary skills to act as an effective non-partisan agent of the House, we believe that it is important that we elevate women to positions of power in our democratic institutions," said a Facebook post Sunday signed by the branch.

Win or lose, Parsons said it's important to put her name forward as the number of women in politics continues to lag.

"Absolutely not," she said when asked if her move to challenge Trimper hints at dissent within the majority Liberal ranks.

"I don't look at this as, you know, going against the premier or going against my colleague Perry Trimper."

Parsons described Trimper as "brilliant" and said he's a friend.

"I believe it's my democratic responsibility to offer myself, to be the best I can be. We should always look to improve and grow."

The 40 members of the House of Assembly _ of which one-quarter are women _ are to vote for Speaker on Tuesday afternoon by secret ballot.

Only the name of the winner is expected to be revealed.

Current standings in the House of Assembly are 30 Liberals, seven Progressive Conservatives, two New Democrats, and one Independent.