Premier won’t take action against minister

James McLeod
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Flap over Kevin O’Brien’s alleged comments needs to be remedied: NDP leader

Premier Kathy Dunderdale is defending Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien after accusations he threatened to withhold funding for projects in his district and used his power to bully local groups on political issues.

Kevin O'Brien

Dunderdale called some of the accusations ludicrous and said she won’t be taking any action against her minister.

According to a CBC News report, O’Brien pushed the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce to revoke invitations to two NDP members to a community fundraising breakfast.

In a statement, O’Brien said he wanted the chamber of commerce to exclude the New Democrat politicians because he thought the event should be non-political.

More recently, a former member of the chamber of commerce — and the Liberal candidate who ran against O’Brien in 2011 — told CBC that O’Brien threatened to withhold funding to slow down construction on a school in Gander if the NDP politicians were not uninvited.

Dunderdale said that doesn’t even make sense.

“The whole thing is so ludicrous, it doesn’t make any kind of sense to me,” she said.

“I’m not sure what the rationale would be to withhold funding in your own district, how that works for you so that you can attend a pancake breakfast.”

I’ve taken it upon myself to speak with the chamber, who think this whole thing was blown completely out of proportion. Premier Kathy Dunderdale

Dunderdale said she’s talked to the chamber of commerce and as far as she’s concerned, it’s a dead issue.

“I’ve taken it upon myself to speak with the chamber, who think this whole thing was blown completely out of proportion. They say they have a great relationship with the minister, a good relationship with government. They want to put this behind them and move on and that’s fine with me.”

But NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said that because the whole controversy has become public, it needs to be resolved.

She has asked the commissioner of legislative standards to review the accusations.

“I just don’t think the premier should be running away from it. I think now it needs to be dealt with because of the public nature of what’s happening,” she said.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: CBC News, Area Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Gander

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Recent comments

  • One of the frightened electorate.
    September 18, 2013 - 09:58

    You can be darn well sure if this accused knew he wasn't guilty, we would have heard from him immediately. I have been cringing with fright every time I have heard him speak because he seems to be always trying to pull the wool over the Newfoundland and Labrador electorate's eyes on every issue that will sink us in the future.

  • Three New Leaders Are Needed
    September 18, 2013 - 09:14

    What the electorate is looking is a complete new bunch of political leaders. The Liberals are on their way, now the PC's and NDP have to do the same.

  • Kevin
    September 18, 2013 - 08:59

    Oooh, the Party shills are out early. John Smith must be sleeping in.

  • Filly
    September 18, 2013 - 08:22

    Whether O'Brien did something wrong or not, Cathy handled this is her usual arrogant way. She took it upon herself to speak to the chamber? How very kind of her.

  • Randy
    September 18, 2013 - 08:04

    Why are is Liberal leader Eddie Joyce protecting O'Brien?

  • Kev
    September 18, 2013 - 07:43

    Did Dunderdale ask the people who made the accusations for their version?

    • he s a fiberal
      September 18, 2013 - 10:09

      he's a former fiberal canadiate

  • Right Wild
    September 18, 2013 - 07:10

    The NDP leader must have to make up for her party's silence all summer while the party's were on vacation. The current Liberal leader has said he always found O'Brien respectful of competing politicians. The current Gander CoC head has said this has been blown out of proportion. So, let's all take the word of a former CoC member and failed politician as gospel. Lorraine says Kathy is running away? What a crock of BS Michael!

  • Steve Mclean
    September 18, 2013 - 07:01

    The Premier doesn't have the courage to deal directly with O'Brien as the public thinks she should.

    • Eli
      September 18, 2013 - 08:03

      And there's no way she's going to button the lip of her chief propagandist since Kent and and Lane have reelection on their minds.

  • Pauline
    September 18, 2013 - 05:44

    Mr McLeod, I don't think Mr O'Brien got anything to apologize for, This George Murphy way of trying to score points for the NDP. I wouldn't believe anything the liberal may have to say. Because of July 5/2013, when our freedom of choice was remove. for leader