Sore mussels in the corner with Jack Layton

Photo by Greg Locke / REUTERS © 2011
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton tries the accordion and serenades his friend and St. John’s East candidate, Jack Harris (R), at O’Brien’s music store in St. John’s, Newfoundland on Saturday when his election campaign, with the national press corp in tow, rolled into town.Still recovering from hip surgery Layton visited a number of small businesses along historic Water Street before a raucous public rally, kicked off by the rocking reggae band, The Idlers, where he addressed approximately five hundred supporters.

Layton is the last national party leader to visit the province and half way through the campaign who returns before election day will tell how close the race is in the three ridings around St. John’s. The ridings of Avalon, St. John’s East and St. John’s South – Mount Pearl were considered to be some of the closest in the country and places where the Conservative could make a comeback to win some of the few seats needed for a majority government.

But the early analysis seems to be not coming to fruition based on what reporters and candidates are hearing on the street. See my story in the Halifax Chronicle Herald today, this CP story by Steve Rennie and Tonda MacCharles’ story in the Toronto Star. MacCharles is a Newfoundlander who worked at CBC in St. John’s before moving to the Star’s Ottawa bureau.

One of the more awkward moments in the street fighting was when NDP candidate, Ryan Cleary and Conservative candidate Loyola Sullivan came face to face on a doorstep in Goulds while campaigning in St. John’s South – Mount Pearl. …Sullivan didn’t know who Cleary was.