“Forget the NDP’s young Quebec caucus,” writes Richard Foot of Maclean’s.ca, “Jack Layton’s biggest management problem when the House of Commons reconvenes may well be the newly elected MP from St. John’s South-Mount Pearl.”

The article goes on to mention how surprising it is the fact that in his previous life as a journalist, Cleary called the NDP a bunch of “losers,” “a small pocket of aging granolas and artsy-fartsies,” and “a party that wouldn’t win an election if Jackie Layton was given a 100-seat head start.”

At 44, Cleary pauses when asked if he still favours independence. “I do not consider myself a separatist,” he says finally. “There have been points when I was younger, when I was gung-ho in terms of separation. But that’s not what people want, and that’s not what I want.”