Tories from around the province will descend on Gander this weekend for the Progressive Conservative party’s annual convention.
The meetings run from Friday evening until Sunday, and provide a chance for the party to rally its base and take care of business.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale will give the keynote speech Friday evening; Saturday will involve election of party officers and policy debates.
This convention comes close to the midpoint in Dunderdale’s mandate as premier, two years after the October 2011 general election.
Last year, when the party came together for its annual general meeting, Dunderdale offered a fiery speech about the impact the PC party has had during a decade in government.
“We should never cease to remind ourselves that our strength as a province is not an accident. It did not just happen,” she told party members last October.
“It is not some other party’s legacy. We made this happen.”
Since then, it’s been a rough year for the Tories.
In the most recent political polling, the party is in third place behind both the Liberals and the NDP, and a majority of people in the province are dissatisfied with the Dunderdale government’s performance.
There is a mechanism for a leadership review in the PC party’s constitution, but it would have required somebody to give advance notice, and party president Cillian Sheehan said no such notice has been given.
“The party is firmly behind the leadership of Kathy Dunderdale,“ he said.
“Is there a mechanism? Absolutely there is. Has there been any indication or a notice of a resolution in relation to a leadership review? None.
Sheehan said the convention is an opportunity for volunteers and party rank-and-file to get together and regroup. He said they’ll celebrate the party’s accomplishments over the last 10 years in government, and get ready for the next election, which is two years away.
“My job as president is more administrative and making sure the district associations are active, there’s good membership in those district associations and we’re ready for the next general election,“ he said.
“That’s what we as a party have to make sure is there.“
The Telegram will providie full coverage of the weekend convention in the newspaper and at www.thetelegram.com.