The Tory incumbent in St. John’s Centre, and minister of natural resources, says he takes “strong exception” to comments by a Liberal candidate made earlier this week.
Shawn Skinner said Danny Dumaresque’s comments at a St. John’s Board of Trade debate Tuesday evening do nothing except unnecessarily pit rural and urban Newfoundlanders and Labradorians against one another.
“I’m not going to try to get myself elected in St. John’s Centre by beating up on the people of Twillingate or the Isles of Notre Dame,” Skinner told The Telegram Thursday.
“I’m going to do it on my record.”
He said Dumaresque — who’s running in the Isles of Notre Dame — should do the same.
“The people of St. John’s pay their fair share, the same as everybody else in the province does, and they expect to be treated equally,” Skinner said.
When Dumaresque was asked at the debate about the Liberal position on a new financial arrangement St. John’s has asked the province for, he said “there are a hell of a lot more priorities outside the overpass that need to be addressed before we start forking more money over to the City of St. John’s.”
But Skinner said provincial money has been spread around the province to both rural and urban areas.
He also noted the City of St. John’s provides services to the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador such as the Janeway and Health Sciences hospitals and Memorial University.
He said people from all over the province come to the capital for those services, and so they should.
“We have numerous provincial needs that are being addressed through the City of St. John’s,” Skinner said.
When asked if he was surprised by Dumaresque’s comments Skinner said no.
“Nothing that Mr. Dumaresque would say would surprise me,” he said. “Mr. (Kevin) Aylward the (Liberal) leader tried to blow it off (during the televised leaders debate) by saying that it was the heat of the campaign.
“Look. They’re going to say what they have to say to get themselves elected and that’s what got us into the mess we were in when we took over in 2003,” Skinner continued. “That’s the kind of politics we don’t need here.”
Skinner was asked what he would say to people from rural parts of the province who may agree with Dumaresque’s insinuation that the townies get it all.
He blamed politicians for that sentiment, saying some want to drive a wedge between urban and rural people for their own political gain.