Premier Kathy Dunderdale was sworn in as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador by party president John Babb at a rally Saturday at the Convention Centre in downtown St. John's. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
As hundreds of supporters waved "Dunderdale 2011" placards, Premier Kathy Dunderdale was formally sworn in as leader of the PC Party.
Dunderdale delivered a speech heavy on Newfoundland and Labrador pride to the crowd, and trumpeting the accomplishments of the government in the past eight years.
"It's not by being meek or weak that we have come so far," Dunderdale said. "The destiny we share is the destiny we control."
Dunderdale, PC Party President John Babb and others all said that the rally marks the kickoff of the 2011 election campaign. Voters in the province will go to the polls on Oct. 11.
But the weekend of party unity and spirit was marred by the absence of former premier Danny Williams.
A video message from Williams to the party faithful was only played for delegates behind closed doors Saturday morning.
Williams taped the message — which also featured an appearance by comedian Mark Critch — to be played at Friday night's tribute dinner in his honour.
In a statement e-mailed to The Telegram, a spokeswoman for Williams said he was "disappointed" that the message was not played at the dinner, which was open to the media.
The video has since been posted online on Youtube.
When asked about this, and the ongoing talk of a rift between herself and Williams, Dunderdale said it was a scheduling issue, and that's the only reason it was played during the Saturday morning session.
The Williams video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmKII8jyIa4