Ryan Cleary

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Ryan Cleary
Ryan Cleary.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for St. John's South—Mount Pearl
In office
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Siobhán Coady
Succeeded by Seamus O'Regan
Personal details
Born (1966-11-20) November 20, 1966 (age 50)
Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador
Political party New Democratic Party (2008-2015)
Progressive Conservative Party (2015)
Residence St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Alma mater College of the North Atlantic (Stephenville)
Website Fisherman's Road

Ronald E. "Ryan" Cleary (born November 20, 1966) is a Canadian politician and journalist from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. He was the Member of Parliament for St. John's South—Mount Pearl from 2011 to 2015.

Born in Gander and raised in Riverhead, Harbour Grace, and Bay Roberts, Cleary graduated from the journalism program at the Stephenville campus of the College of the North Atlantic in 1989. On May 2, 2011, Cleary was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the New Democratic Party in the 2011 election. He was defeated in the 2015 Canadian federal election, after which he switched parties to run as a Progressive Conservative in the 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election and was defeated in Windsor Lake.


As a journalist, Cleary covered most of the major events in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past two decades. He was fisheries reporter for The Telegram in 1992 when the moratorium was first introduced on northern cod. He also worked as a political and investigative reporter and has won numerous journalism awards and accolades throughout his career.[citation needed]

Cleary was the editor-in-chief of The Independent newspaper and was known for his outspoken and controversial articles. For example, Cleary claimed in his columns that Quebec had too much power in Canadian government institutions and said that Canada's top two problems were Quebec and Quebec.[1] Cleary also earned a reputation as a steadfast Newfoundland separatist, such as in May 2008, when he wrote "I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but now that we’re rolling in the cash it may be time to consider breaking away from the country of Canada.”[2] When The Independent went out of business he went on to host Nightline, a VOCM radio call in program. Cleary also worked for The Newfoundland Herald, NTV, and Time Magazine.

Federal politics[edit]

Cleary first entered politics when he became the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the riding of St. John's South—Mount Pearl in the October 2008 federal election. His candidacy led to some controversy for him and NDP leader Jack Layton for comments Cleary had written only a couple of years before when he was a journalist. Cleary had referred to NDP supporters as a "small pocket of aging granolas and artsy-fartsies" and that they were "a mainstream party that wouldn't win an election if Jackie Layton was given a 100-seat head start."[3][4] Despite his late entrance into the campaign and his previous comments he still managed to place a strong second in the riding.[2][5]

On September 17, 2009, the New Democrats nominated Cleary as their candidate in St. John's South-Mount Pearl for the next federal election.[6] In October 2010, Cleary announced that he would withdraw his candidacy. He stated that being a political candidate has created a conflict with his journalism work and that he wished to continue with his journalism career. He also noted that he had severed all ties with the NDP.[7] However, in March 2011 with the announcement of a federal election, Cleary said he would return to run for the NDP again.[8] On May 2, Cleary defeated Liberal Siobhán Coady receiving 18,332 votes to Coady's 10,670.[9]

After Lorraine Michael stepped down as the leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party in early 2015, Cleary publicly mused running for the party's leadership in the 2015 leadership election, but ultimately decided to not seek the position.[10]

In the 2015 federal election, Cleary was defeated by Liberal Seamus O'Regan.[11][12] On election night, NDP leader Tom Mulcair called Cleary his “political hero”.[13] He also supports ending the NDP's association with trade unions.

Provincial politics[edit]

After his defeat in the 2015 federal election, Cleary entered talks with the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador to run under their banner in the 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador general election.[14] On October 30, Cleary announced that he would seek the party's nomination in the electoral district of Windsor Lake.[15] He won the Progressive Conservative nomination but was defeated in the general election by Liberal incumbent Cathy Bennett.[16]

Union activism[edit]

In 2016, Cleary was involved with efforts to organize a new union of fish harvesters, to be called the Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters, or FISH-NL, as a rival to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union.[17]

Electoral history[edit]


Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2015: Windsor Lake
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Cathy Bennett 3,182 66.40
Progressive Conservative Ryan Cleary 970 20.24
New Democratic Don Rowe 640 13.36
Total valid votes 4,792 100.0
Turnout 52.59
Eligible voters 9,088


Canadian federal election, 2015: St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Seamus O'Regan 25,992 58.02 +29.32
New Democratic Ryan Cleary 16,467 36.76 –9.58
Conservative Marek Krol 2,047 4.57 –19.64
Green Jackson McLean 365 0.81 +0.09
Total valid votes/Expense limit 44,801 100.0   $200,174.30
Total rejected ballots 133 0.30 +0.02
Turnout 44,934 67.13 +8.16
Eligible voters 66,936
Liberal gain from New Democratic Swing +19.45
Source: Elections Canada[18][19]
Canadian federal election, 2011: St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Ryan Cleary 18,681 47.92 +7.36 $67,211.17
Liberal Siobhán Coady 11,130 28.55 -14.77 $81,760.42
Conservative Loyola Sullivan 8,883 22.79 +10.24 $78,347.37
Green Rick Austin 291 0.75 -1.11 none listed
Total valid votes/Expense limit 38,985 100.0   $82,628.65
Total rejected, declined and unmarked ballots 108 0.28 +0.01
Turnout 39,093 58.97 +7.02
Eligible voters 66,294
New Democratic gain from Liberal Swing +11.06
Canadian federal election, 2008: St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Siobhán Coady 14,920 43.32 +10.32 $63,155.64
New Democratic Ryan Cleary 13,971 40.56 +18.87 $18,947.03
Conservative Merv Wiseman 4,324 12.55 -32.13 $63,115.88
Green Ted Warren 643 1.86 +1.23 $172.03
Newfoundland and Labrador First Greg Byrne 402 1.16 $2,908.17
Independent Terry Christopher Butler 179 0.51 none listed
Total valid votes/Expense limit 34,439 100.0   $80,167
Total rejected, declined and unmarked ballots 92 0.27 -0.06
Turnout 34,531 51.95
Eligible voters 66,467
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing -4.28


  1. ^ Leblanc, Daniel (6 September 2012). "Now an NDP MP, former Nfld. columnist Ryan Cleary stands by past Quebec bashing". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Foot Richard (13 May 2011). "The NDP's former Newfoundland separatist". Maclean's. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Brennan, Richard (12 September 2008). "Layton defends candidate who called NDP 'losers'". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hey, 'losers'! Journalists-turned-candidates haunted by political critiques". Canadian Broadcasting corporation. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cleary seeks nomination in N.L. riding". CBC News. September 5, 2008. 
  6. ^ Ryan Cleary wins bid to represent NDP in St. Johns South-Mount Pearl
  7. ^ "Cleary bows out as NDP candidate". CBC News. October 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Cleary considering federal comeback". CBC News. March 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ "NDP's Cleary knocks Liberals out of St. John's riding". CBC News. May 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Ryan Cleary, Earle McCurdy considering bids for NDP leadership". CBC News. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Seamus O'Regan upsets Ryan Cleary for Liberal win in St. John's South-Mount Pearl". CBC News. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  12. ^ "O'Regan triumphs over Cleary; Krol blames Williams". The Telegram. St. John's. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  13. ^ http://fishermansroad.blogspot.ca/2016/02/angry-tom-and-crooked-cleary.html
  14. ^ "Defeated NDP MP Ryan Cleary in talks with PC Party, sources say". CBC News. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ryan Cleary says fears of Liberal juggernaut 'kept him awake'". CBC News. October 30, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Ryan Cleary says 7 seats 'good news' for PCs despite own loss". CBC News. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  17. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ryan-cleary-hassan-yussuff-union-labour-congress-1.3790289
  18. ^ "October 19, 2015 Election Results — St. John's South—Mount Pearl (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  19. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  20. ^ Elections Canada – Official voting results, Forty-first general election, 2011
  21. ^ Elections Canada – Candidate's electoral campaign return, 41st general election

External links[edit]