Liberals aiming for a big win

Steve Bartlett
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Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward kick-starts the party’s election campaign at Confederation Building Monday. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward believes Kathy Dunderdale’s Conservatives have lost their way, and his party can do better.

“They are out of control. In fact, they are on cruise control. They have been shameless in their sense of entitlement,” he said, getting the Grit election machine rolling Monday morning.

Aylward kicked off the campaign in front of Confederation Building. It’s a familiar place for the man who took the party reins in mid-August after Yvonne Jones stepped aside for health reasons. Aylward sat in the House of Assembly from 1985 to 2003 and served as a cabinet minister for eight years.

With the Liberal bus and a number of candidates behind him, Aylward told reporters and supporters he was seeking a new seat.

“I want the job of premier of Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

In order for him to sit in the big chair and bring the Liberals to power after eight years of Tory rule, Aylward and his party have a steep mountain to climb.

The Grits sit in third place, according to the latest poll, with 22 per cent of decided voters supporting them. The Conservatives are way out in front with 54 per cent support, while the New Democrats have 24 per cent.

Despite the Tories’ apparent popularity, Aylward said people are crying out to be heard.

“This is especially true in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, where the rural agenda has been forgotten by the Dunderdale government,” he said.

Aylward indicated Monday he’s been in a similar poll position before — as a candidate in the 1989 election when Liberal Clyde Wells overcame a 31 point deficit and defeated the Tom Rideout-led Tories.

“I see déja vu all over again,” he said.

It appears the Liberals will focus on energy, health, seniors and natural resources to try and grapple power away from the PCs, to go from four seats to a majority.

The proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development will undoubtedly be the prime energy issue.

Aylward said the party is not opposed to a Lower Churchill development, but not at any cost to ratepayers and democracy, or at the risk of “another bad energy deal.”

He called for an independent review of the proposal and said his party would curb spending on the project.

The fishery will also get a lot of Liberal attention. Aylward said the industry has been neglected by the Dunderdale government and his party’s fish policy has been “stirring the pot” since it was announced Friday.

The Liberal leader believes the province is being divided between those who have and have not. The Liberals, he said, would ensure wealth is shared and money is invested wisely. He noted it is important that some oil revenue be tucked away for the future.

“This election is not about the shape of our province in the next four years, but it’s going to be about the next 20 to 25 years.”

Aylward also accused the Dunderdale government of “playing peekaboo politics” — spending on big ticket items like arenas in districts where a cabinet minister needs help.

He said the Tories are taking people for granted and don’t seem to care about the consequences of their decisions.

“It’s doesn’t matter because they expect you, the public, to vote for them.”

Aylward touted the strength of Liberal candidates and promised the party would run a full slate this election. (It was one person short in 2007.)

The Liberals have been struggling financially for a number of years and are reported to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Asked how his party would pay for its campaign, he said it has the resources for a credible and aggressive run.

“We’re going to be fine,” he said. Twitter: bartlett_steve

Organizations: Conservatives, Tory

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • stephen
    September 20, 2011 - 18:12

    What desperate nonsense from this joker.

  • Mindy
    September 20, 2011 - 17:35

    Liberals aiming for a big I read the headline I could only laugh....You migh as well think big Mr. Alyward and enjoy the attention now cause you will have your bubble burst. Liberals will not be running this province until they can get their own party affairs in order.

  • Vic
    September 20, 2011 - 14:46

    Their should be an article written about the involvement of former Premiers in this campaign. Tobin raising cash and Beaton Tulk running the Liberals campaign while Danny Williams is trying to de-rail Kathy Dunderdale. Now there is a news story!

  • bill smith
    September 20, 2011 - 13:41

    the leadership of the liberals from its executive up is in a mess , the executive is so bad , that the rank and file and the money behind the party have stop supporting it, it is without leadership , or direction and it is made up of former conservatives who were dumped by conservatives ,because they knew nothing then

  • Robb
    September 20, 2011 - 11:31

    These disappearing liberals are such a joke.....hey, people see through you guys......we have seen it before and will never fall for your smoke and mirrors again.....I mean, look at the words used be the disappearing liberals in this article....Tories have lost their way....on cruise control...sense of entitlement.....???...all meaningless political inuendo by a desperate party...I suspect most of the disappearing liberals will go back to their holes until they can find some comment or activity of the govt that they can condemn.....and as for the union-loving ndp, fortunately there are more people not in a union here in the province to keep them from giving away the shop..........also, how stupid is that crap about taking the money from NalcorMuskrat and putting into the fishery....??.....if the fishery cannot sustain itself, stop putting my tax dollars into that black's an idea, put it into sustainable clean electricity for is real easy for some stupid liberal or ndp to say that electrical rates will go up, but they don't kow for sure, but they need to come up with something to support their stupid claims.....the liberals and ndp are only upset because it is not their party in control to have this great project.......

  • firstandlast
    September 20, 2011 - 09:48

    Poor Kevin, Even the Orange Team will outdo them, Cathy is good for the next term!

  • mustangton
    September 20, 2011 - 09:30

    well I guess all the regular people are again commenting .......... short memories we newfie's have..... ABC for good old Danny.... and s______underdale kissing Harpers ass .... Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project and Nalcor Energy dictating to us its our best opinion.....Think about it .....its our money they are spending....first take care of the old and young (old got us here and young will take care of us) not like what we are doing for them a BIG FRIGGIN GOOSE EGG think before you put the X on the ballot

  • Malcolm
    September 20, 2011 - 09:24

    This guy lost me when he stressed that it is "important that some oil revenue be tucked away for the future." What happened to the time value of money? Business 101...

  • Duffy
    September 20, 2011 - 09:04

    NDP useless..............P.C. at last a little forsight. Liberals - a HUGH WIN to them will be to keep 4 seats!

  • meincbn
    September 20, 2011 - 08:52

    Everybody keeps forgetting that the Liberals only had 9% support when the "Great" Danny Williams called the last election and he couldn't completely finish them off, and folks, Blunderdale is no Danny Williams.

  • Journo
    September 20, 2011 - 08:39

    It's ridiculous how many uneducated people love to comment on issues they have no knowledge of. Obviously Dunderdale is committed to her campaign and wouldn't be a party leader if respected and educated people didn't think she could do the job. You both also think it has to be a PC or Liberal government. Neither of you thought of the possibility of an NDP government. So far the Liberals are in a public opinion poll of third place so don't get your hopes up.

  • MBC
    September 20, 2011 - 07:18

    This man will be premier after October 11; Dunderdale just doesn't have leadership abilities. She doesn't have a vision for NL. Her main concerns are lose weigh, buy new cloths, buy new jewellery etc . She thinks she is on permanent vacation. She was suppose to be running a government; YOU'RE FIRED !!

    • Too Funny
      September 20, 2011 - 09:12

      You may be right, if by 'after October 11' you mean when hell freezes over. lmao

  • Saucy Face
    September 20, 2011 - 07:17

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA .. Thanks Kevin for getting my day off with a good laugh.