A social media frenzy erupted May 9 over comments Michael Normore made about a number of social issues, including same-sex marriage and abortion.
The result is that Normore is no longer a candidate for the PC party for Cartwright-L’Anse-au-Clair district.
PC Leader Ches Crosbie says Normore was asked not to run under the party banner after a series of old social media posts expressing anti-abortion and anti-gay views surfaced in recent days.
The posts date back to 2016 and have since been deleted. They condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage and includes links to LifeSite, a well-known anti-abortion website.
Crosbie said that he spoke to Normore and asked him to step aside from running as the PC candidate for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair in eastern Labrador. Since Normore apparently refused, Crosbie said that he would not be allowed to serve in the PC caucus, if elected.
“I’ve taken decisive action and we’ve dealt with the issue,” Crosbie said during a Friday news conference outside his campaign headquarters in St. John’s.
Although Crosbie says the he doesn’t share Normore’s views on LGBTQ+ rights and abortion rights, he said he would not denounce them.
“They’re opinions that a majority of the people in the PC party don’t share, they’re opinions that a majority of the people in our society don’t share, but I’m not about to denounce his personal opinions,” he said.
Normore’s comments sparked immediate reaction from a number of people, including those from southern Labrador.
Josh Nolan lives in Red Bay, a town in the Cartwright-L’Anse-au-Clair district, with his same-sex partner.
He said Normore’s comments about same-sex marriage left him feeling angry.
“This is 2019, we’re supposed to be moving forward and not backwards,” he told The Northern Pen.
Nolan says while most people are welcoming and open-minded about his sexuality, he and his partner still face a certain degree of discrimination living in small town Newfoundland and Labrador.
For a person running for political office to express these views, it just adds to a feeling of being unwelcomed, he said.
Nolan says he had never heard of Normore until this election and had intended to vote for Liberal incumbent Lisa Dempster.
But Normore’s comments on same-sex marriage strengthened Nolan’s support for Dempster.
“I’ll stand next to her side and shout to vote for her,” he said.
Hedley Ryland of L’Anse-au-Loup, a PC Party member and a part of Normore’s campaign team, defended Normore’s right to hold these personal opinions.
But he said he understands the party’s decision to remove Normore given the sensitivity of the matter.
As a member of the party, he said he doesn’t want anything to jeopardize the party’s chances in the election.
“We’re living in rural Newfoundland and the biggest decisions come from the cities and the urban areas,” he said. “For them to make that decision, I totally understand it. I wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize the PC Party from forming the next government.”
Ryland will continue to support and work with Normore.
“Mike is going to carry on now as an Independent, and hopefully he will be successful in this district,” he said.
He condemned what he called the “dirty politics” of those who discovered Normore’s comments made on Facebook in 2015.
“It’s dirty politics and a sign of desperation,” he said. “Two sides can do it, but we feel there’s no need of that. We feel it’s just belittling to whom it may concern.”
Normore is contesting Liberal incumbent Lisa Dempster, the only other candidate on the ballot in the district.