Mount Pearl is alive with rumours this week that Steve Kent is trying to cross the floor (back) to the Liberals.
Kent’s open dispute with the education minister Clyde Jackman over school re-organization in the bedroom city seems to have been the catalyst for the flurry of rumours.
Now it could all be nothing, except for the fact that Kent’s fellow Mount Pearlers…Pearlites…Pearlies…whatever … know that the former child mayor has a reputation for changing his political affiliations when it suits.
The issue came up in 2007 when Kent ran for the Conservatives.
And while Kent vigorously denied he’d ever been anything but a charter member of the Danny Williams Personality Cult, others had a decidedly different impression at the time.
In 2007, the People of the Pearl had it right six or seven months before Kent openly declared his plan to run for the Conservatives.
This time, though, the rumour mill in Mount Pearl might be a little bit off. Since 2007 Kent’s been a loyal and, at times, overly-enthusiastic member of the Conservative goon squad. You have to weigh the prospect of Kent crossing the floor against the fact that he parked his personal ambition again as part of the second back room deal. Kent was the first member of the Personality Cult’s House of Assembly chapter to declare his support for Williams’ hand-picked successor to his original hand-picked successor.
Now Kent’s personal ambition in 2010 was no secret, but as part of the back-room deal that kept Dunderdale as the temporary leader for longer than originally planned, Kent put his own ambitions into hibernation.
Still, Kent wound up taking a demotion after Kathy Dunderdale took over, apparently because he wasn’t sufficiently keen on kissing her backside as she felt he should have been. No Kathy for Kent meant that he paid a price for a while.
What some of the rumour crowd put up against that, though, is the by-election loss in Virginia Waters. The Conservative seem to be mired in difficulty. Frank Coleman might be Danny’s hand-picked successor but Coleman’s campaign has been lacking in any signs of life, let alone the kind of enthusiasm that could possibly give the Conservatives a shot at winning re-election next year or the year after.
Kent’s worried about his own seat, some of the Pearls will tell you. If Lane crossed and the Liberals took him, they say, Kent might well jump too. And the chances of Kent switching (back) to the Liberals go up if Kent starts to think he might lose his seat in the next election.