Update: Dunderdale officially announces run for party leadership

Daniel MacEachern
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale, with daughter Sarah Dunderdale, announces this morning she is seeking the Tory Party leadership. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Premier Kathy Dunderdale has made it official — she is seeking the leadership of the Tory Party in the province.


Dunderdale made the announcement before media this morning outside the House of Assembly at Confederation Building in St. John’s.


"I'm pleased to be here this morning to announce my candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador," Dunderdale said.


She noted she initially hadn't planned to run but the encouragement of caucus colleagues, and Newfoundlanders and Labadorians, made her reconsider.

"It's an exciting opportunity, something that I didn't expect but I enthusiastically embrace, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next weeks and months will bring."


Dunderdale was sworn in Dec. 3 as the province's 10th — and first female — premier following the resignation of Danny Williams.

Dunderdale says her focus in the days following former premier Danny Williams' resignation was providing a seamless transition for government.

"I wasn't aware that Premier Williams was going to resign until the evening before," she said. "The announcement was made the next day. I made my position very clear the next day.

“As the weeks progressed, there was quite a bit of support expressed to me to continue my service to the people of the province in this new particular way that I certainly hadn't seriously considered before then. And upon reflection, once we had gotten through the House of Assembly, once major files had been dealt with, once I had the time to quietly reflect and again speak with my family and colleagues, then, while it's not a path I ever expected to be on, is one that I enthusiastically embrace and I look forward to."

A provincial election is scheduled for the fall.

The nomination period for the Tory leadership opens today and closes Jan. 10. No other candidate — within caucus or outside — has declared an intention to run. Dunderdale says she intends to stay on as premier throughout the nomination period and will step down if other candidates come forward, necessitating a leadership race.

The interim premier says she doesn't think her current position gives her an unfair advantage or will deter any other candidates from coming forward.

"People have been aware for some time now that this leadership has to take place. This government has to be led. I have done that in the interim. If another candidate comes forward, then when the nomination period is complete, I'll step aside and it'll be a level playing field."

Interim Liberal leader Kelvin Parsons, however, says the lack of candidates for the PC leadership shows the government has "weak bench strength."

"It was a bit of a surprise that it happened this way but I guess once the pretenders sized it up they realized they didn't have what it took, and now she's left in a position where albeit she didn't want the job, she's left to do the job."

Parsons said Dunderdale's announcement doesn't change  Liberal strategy heading into the next election.

"I think this makes it even a little better for us, because it really shows they do have a lack of depth. I think it's quite clear from Premier Dunderdale's performance in the House, albeit a two-week session, she wasn't really comfortable sometimes when it came to dealing with some of the major files, like Muskrat, which she's been on for the last two years, even. So I think it's going to be a very interesting year."

Organizations: Tory Party, Confederation Building

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Recent comments

  • Linda Payne
    December 30, 2010 - 18:53

    I think that is great . Good Luck

  • Susan
    December 30, 2010 - 14:37

    We are standing behind you Kathy! You have a lot of support that you don't even know about yet... and on election day the people will unite once again for a strong PC government! Thank God you are there!

  • Alex Russell
    December 30, 2010 - 14:03

    oh oh, Tory times will end after one more term !

  • Jacob
    December 30, 2010 - 13:54

    Will she be keeping Danny's "forget-me-nots"?

  • Dave
    December 30, 2010 - 13:41

    danny williams could have picked a Newfoundland dog to replace him and his sheep would have accepted it. This province is heading for a big fall if Blunderdale actually becomes a real premier. Gee, wasn't that what all Tory's were saying about Grimes, not being a real premier? No more voting Tory for me for a while as it looks.

  • KD
    December 30, 2010 - 13:00

    Way to go now if the liberals got rid of parsons,jones and the few unelected wannabes who have an axe to grind would make for interesting times

  • Scott Free
    December 30, 2010 - 12:59

    While I commend interim Premier Dunderdale on accomplishing what King Danny could not, or would not, in respect to settling two major labour issues, I still wonder why these politicians are so hungry to feed their massive egos. Couldn't Kathy just say "maybe" when previously asked if she was interested in the premiership on a permanent basis; rather than have the bobbleheads beg her to stay on...does your ego need that too Kathy? Aw, c'mon, stay with us; please, pretty please, with jam on it? Wishy, washy. If this is the kind of indecisive leadership you're going to offer on a go-forward basis, I guess we'll have to settle in for more of the same. The first big lie is out; when will the next cover up be exposed? Hold on now, I know the Tory Koolaid gang are going to say, "anyone can change their mind", yes, but they can also mislead you!

  • Randy
    December 30, 2010 - 12:02

    I can't wait untill next october,to see dudderdale explain to the nl public,why the doubleing of our light bills ,is a good thing for us all..Yvonne Jones can tear this lady to sheds in a debate

  • Ursula Marshall
    December 30, 2010 - 11:13

    Good for you, Cathy! You have so much more to offer this province. We will all benefit from your committment and desire to serve your fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I am very proud to say that I know you; not because you are going to be the next premier after the elections, but because you are so fair and honest about what you can do for this province.You are a unique person and a remarkable woman. Best of luck to you.

  • james
    December 30, 2010 - 10:58

    is this a joke

  • Shannon Reardon
    December 30, 2010 - 10:47

    "Talents", Ned??? Like her bungling, along with her Master, of the Abitibi expropriation? You mean talent like that???

  • Shannon Reardon
    December 30, 2010 - 10:45

    Oh, because there was such a movement sweeping NL to push her to go for this. Please. This kind of backroom fixing is utterly disgraceful in a democracy, and we know who controlled the puppet strings here, don't we?

  • Dianne
    December 30, 2010 - 09:50

    Good for her....we need to take a stand and become part of this great province and I for one will back her...

  • Ned Anderson
    December 30, 2010 - 09:17

    Good for her !!!! I can not for the life of me understand how people get all caught up in this foolish best "man" or "woman" for the job argument, and totally overlook the best "person" for the job !!!! I do believe that if she was tapped by Danny to take the reins when he left,....the decision by him was NOT without merit . I do not think it was a decision made without taking into account the talents she has. I say go for it. No one will ever be another Joey and sell the shop for a few table scraps. We have progressed enough as a province that we should worry about having the wool pulled over our eyes ever again . And if by chance something is done we do not approve of , I am sure we will not sit idly by ever again !!!

    • Yvonne Cheater
      December 30, 2010 - 10:40

      You Go, Girl! Behind you all the way!