Former premier Danny Williams told reporters Sunday he believes the provincial government is deliberately distancing itself from him.
Williams made the comments as he was scrummed by reporters during a book launch.
Williams was asked about a few issues, but something he wanted to stress was the reason behind the apparent rift between himself and his former colleagues in the provincial government.
“From my own perspective, I think it’s very clear that the premier and her staff have felt that it’s appropriate to distance themselves from me and if that’s the case then so be it, that’s her right. As premier of the province, she has every right to do that,” he said.
When asked if this rift had anything to do with the appointment of Elizabeth Matthews, his former communications director, to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, Williams shot down the suggestion. Matthews’ nomination by the province to the board drew heavy criticism and she eventually withdrew her name from consideration.
“I can tell you for the record, this is not about Elizabeth Matthews’ appointment under any circumstances,” he said.
“There’s been some issues that have been ongoing now for a couple
of months basically,” he added.
The rift between Williams and his former colleagues in the government was largely made public after the former premier announced he would not attend his own appreciation dinner party next week, an event that has been in the works for months.
Williams has now shifted the focus of the dinner on to Premier Kathy Dunderdale.
The celebration was planned to coincide with Dunderdale’s coronation as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador and Williams said the focus next weekend’s party should be on her.
“You know this is her weekend and it’s important that the party pay tribute to her as their new leader, the premier, and I wish her well,” said Williams.
But while Williams won’t be at this weekend’s gathering he added he’s written to the party and asked for an alternate date, in the hopes that a tribute dinner could be rescheduled.
“I want to do that, I
do want to have the
get-together with the party faithful I want to thank them for their support over the years,” he said.
Williams spoke to reporters while attending the launch of “Danny Williams: A Profile,” a collection of photographs from his time as premier.
“Danny Williams: A Profile” is by Paul Daly and Russell Wangersky and published by Breakwater Books.