Antle pans ‘dismal’ Dunderdale leadership

James McLeod
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St. John’s businessman Paul Antle launches his campaign for leader of the Liberal party. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

When Liberal leadership candidate Paul Antle kickstarted his campaign Thursday, he didn’t even offer a cursory glance towards his competitors before he took direct aim at Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

Speaking to supporters and media in Conception Bay South, Antle launched into a lengthy condemnation of the current Tory government.

“There is no accountability or transparency. There is no oversight. There is no participation or inclusion. The Tories hide their decisions behind regressive legislation. It’s an insult to the people,” he said.

Antle was the last candidate to enter the Liberal leadership race.


Antle stepped up to run against MHA Dwight Ball, MHA Jim Bennett, former MHA Danny Dumaresque and businesswoman Cathy Bennett.

Antle ran for the Liberal party federally in the past, and he has been talked about as a potential leadership candidate for years.

He was asked more than once by reporters why he chose to run now and what separates him from his four rivals.

Initially, he responded by taking further aim at Dunderdale.

“I looked around and I saw no leadership in this province. I looked at a government that was worn out and tired, that doesn’t have a plan for the future of this province, and I decided to step up,” he said.

“I look at the fact that the leadership in this province has been dismal of late. I personally have issue with that.”

When asked again what exactly distinguishes him from the other leadership candidates, and why Liberals should vote for him, Antle talked about the decision to get into the leadership contest.

“My fellow colleagues have all gone through the same decision-making process that I did. It’s a very tough decision to step forward and enter public life at this level; I commend them for doing so,” he said.

“It’s great for the Liberal party; it gives a lot of energy and momentum to the Liberal party, and I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun in the next four months.”

Antle was introduced by Liberal MP Scott Simms, who said that he’ll make the best leader for the Liberal Party.

Simms emphasized his friendship with Antle — he called Antle a “mentor” — and his history in the party.

“I’m not going to begrudge anybody who hasn’t spent as many years involved in the Liberal party,” Simms said.

“To me, Paul Antle, yes he’s spent 25 years in this party, and that’s a plus. But the biggest plus of Paul Antle is his knowledge and his vision.”

Liberal candidates have until the end of September to sign up new party members and supporters. All qualified members and supporters will vote to pick the new leader in November.

Twitter: TelegramJames


Geographic location: Conception Bay South

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Recent comments

  • Charles Murphy
    July 12, 2013 - 16:24


  • Janet
    July 12, 2013 - 13:20

    I think Mr. Antle will make a fine leader. I wish him the best of luck.

  • Late to the Game
    July 12, 2013 - 12:00

    Mr. Antle is highly educated and very successful. He knows politics and the Liberal party. But he came late into the game when many of the top organisers had committed to other campaigns and now his campaign team is comprised of newbies and amateurs. Example: being whisked away from your own campaign launch after 3 minutes of interviews with the press. His launch was the place to plant a load of soundbytes, not leave the hall. The location in manuals is nice to look at, but a lunchtime launch so far away from St. John's made it difficult for supporters who work to attend the launch. All amateur mistakes. Get some experienced help Mr. Antle or the best candidate on paper will fall very short in the race.

  • Don II
    July 12, 2013 - 10:16

    It will soon be time to bring on the beer, the brass bands and the balloons! It will soon be time for the Liberal Party to party! The next leader of the Liberal Party will possibly be the next Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. It appears that is the reason for the current number of political opportunists and serious candidates grasping for the golden ring. The fact is that the last thing that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador need as the next Premier is another rich businessperson or power elite lawyer with a vision. A vision for what or for whom? Will the vision be to arrange for another massive land assembly on the outskirts of St. John's or be for more mines, oil wells, Fracking drilling, clear cutting of the forest and high voltage electrical power transmission line towers going through everybody's back yard whether they like it or not? Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador has always been used by the power elites to gain control of the power of the State in order to further some hidden agenda, ram projects through, purge the public service to create jobs for political cronies, create or change legislation to unjustly enrich some group or other or to punish some other unsuspecting and defenseless groups. It appears that in Newfoundland and Labrador a lobbyist, whether registered or not, can practically walk in off the street into Confederation Building at 9 am and walk out at 11am with an agreement from the Government to expropriate somebody's land, amend a municipality development plan, rezone a block of land or to create, change, amend or repeal legislation to further the ends and goals of his/her clients! The lobbyists can make their case without having to provide feasibility studies, notify the people to be adversely affected or even to provide proven facts! As long as the slick "build it and they will come" pitch sounds good or has a tourism or heritage promotion mentality involved, the deal is in the bag, no questions asked. That is, until the poorly conceived or unrealistic plan runs off the rails! There should be a rule that anyone who is not a sitting MHA cannot be allowed to run for leadership of a political Party. The people must retain the right and the power to elect any person to public office prior to that person running for the leadership of a political Party regardless of who they are or what "vision" they possess that they think gives them the right to acquire the power of the State in order to push their hidden agenda, trample on people's rights, pass and impose unconstitutional legislation, incur major debt, violate international trade agreements, undermine national unity or arbitrarily change the direction of the lives of the people of the Province! The political spin is always optimistic and pie in the sky but the facts are stark. The economy is based on natural resource extraction to the exclusion of practically everything else. Many opportunities for long term and sustainable economic expansion have been ignored, suppressed or dismissed in favor of making quick bucks from natural resource extraction royalties and tax revenue which is spent faster than it can be collected. The Government crows that Newfoundland and Labrador is a "Have Province" while ignoring the fact that the current fiscal cuts are deep, the fiscal budget deficit situation will be prolonged and the Provincial debt will soon be the highest it has ever been in history! Reality and facts are always ignored. On March 31, 1965 the population of Newfoundland and Labrador was 500,000 people and 48 years later, on March 31, 2013, the population of Newfoundland and Labrador was still approximately 500,000 people. That population statistic denotes the fact that the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador is based on illusion, smoke and mirrors and as presently constituted cannot support a population of more than 500,000 people! The Government knows that it will be necessary to force the vast majority of those 500,000 people to be eventually squeezed into living on 50 x 80 foot house lots or in apartments and working in the St. John's metropolitan area or at least on the Avalon Peninsula! Those who want to sit behind the Premier's desk and control the levers of power must pay their dues and should be elected as an MHA before they can be allowed to run for leadership of the Party. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador need to stop elevating people from the offices of mega business, elite law or academia to the top of the power heap while these people have never been elected and have never served in public office, have never paid their dues or could care less about ethics, transparency and not abusing power. Some people who hold the power of the State are prepared to agree to anything that some slick lobbyist proposes and sign anything that some bureaucrat pushes in front of them without question or concern regardless of the dire consequences!

  • Happily Retired
    July 12, 2013 - 09:41

    Let's be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that "business people" are the best ones to run this province. We've seen strong examples of business people putting their own interests before the needs of the citizens since we settled here. For instance, look at the Terms of Union for joining Canada. We gave away our fishery, but business people made sure their margarine rights were secured. This guy is no better. It bothers me that he pretends he came from such humble beginnings, but I get the feeling somewhat inaccurate. If he's elected, his stance on Muskrat Falls will be the same as the Tories.

  • Just Sayin
    July 12, 2013 - 09:02

    Appears to be the only Liberal who wants to kill Muskrat falls. And that is a plus.

  • Randy
    July 12, 2013 - 08:52

    Mr. Antle will make a fine premier. young,bright , harvard educated --he's the best for this job

  • Kent
    July 12, 2013 - 07:51

    I couldn't think of a more appropriate leader than Antle, who has built a fortune on waste management, to take out the PC trash. Go Antle!!

  • Matthew
    July 12, 2013 - 07:47

    What do Dunderdale and Cathy Bennett have in common? A high school diploma. Yet, both claim they understand high finance and say the business case for Muskrat Falls makes good sense. Paul Antle graduated from Harvard Business School and he says how can anyone judge a business case when the financing arrangements are secret and unavailable for scrutiny and analysis. He is the best choice to lead the Liberal party.

  • Steve
    July 12, 2013 - 07:35

    It's too bad no reporters had a chance to ask him about his offshore tax haven legal troubles before his handlers whisked him away. CBC said he only stuck around for 3 minutes for questions. Guess you can be too open and accountable.

  • Dianne
    July 12, 2013 - 06:48


  • Mary
    July 12, 2013 - 06:28