Former MHA says he is in it to win it
The field of candidates to fill the role of provincial leader for the resurgent Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party grew from three to four on Tuesday with the news that former MHA Danny Dumaresque is seeking the position.
“I am a Liberal who is going to go after the values of this party and implement policy that’s going to impact the lives of people who, through no fault of their own, cannot help themselves,” said Dumaresque, a former MHA in the Liberal government of Clyde Wells.
“That’s why I’m here, and yes, I have fought many battles. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. This is one I’m going to win.”
Late Monday evening, St. John’s businesswoman and former Nalcor Energy board member Cathy Bennett announced on Twitter that she will make a bid for the leadership. Interim leader Dwight Ball and MHA Jim Bennett are also in the running.
In the latest quarterly poll from Corporate Research Associates, 36 per cent of decided voters said they would vote Liberal, second only to the NDP at 37 per cent. It was the Liberals’ best result, percentage-wise, in several years.
“While people are coming back to the Liberal party, there is a very important job to be done in every district,” Dumaresque said.
“District associations have to be renewed. Election training has to be delivered. Candidates have to be selected. Funds have to be raised, and yes indeed, our policy has to be clear.”
Further investment in the fishery appears to be on Dumaresque’s agenda.
“Thousands of new jobs can be created to give more stable and meaningful incomes to plant workers,” he said.
Already an outspoken opponent of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development, Dumaresque reiterated his position Tuesday, calling it a “flawed economic project.” He also said taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent and that Crown corporation Nalcor should be subject to the Public Tender Act.
Dumaresque said the people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve “fair, honest, and strong political representation,” adding that his educational background and combined experience in politics and private enterprise make him the right person for the job.
A native of the southern Labrador community of L’Anse au Clair, Dumaresque spent seven years in politics as the MHA for Eagle River. He is also a former president of the provincial Liberals, and said Tuesday he has been a party member for 30 years.
It has been 17 years since Dumaresque was a member of the House of Assembly, and he has run for the Liberals several times since but failed to win a seat.
“There were times in the recent history where I offered myself up as a candidate knowing that I would not win, and as you know, very few Liberals did win against Danny Williams and the Conservative government,” he said Tuesday. “But I am a Liberal by conviction, not by opportunity.”
For the last 17 years, Dumaresque has owned and operated companies involved in the marketing and processing of seafood products. In May, he sold Labrador Gem Seafoods Inc. to Barry Group Inc.
Holding bachelor and master’s degrees in political science, Dumaresque said he learned to challenge political ideals while attending school.
“I think in my early years (in politics), I challenged too quickly and I probably was a little too partisan,” he said. “I’m free now of those early, idealistic approaches to government and to politics.”
Dumaresque intends to make stops in all 48 electoral districts in the province over the next three months to hear from residents about their concerns.