Dunderdale says bad polls ‘keep us on our toes’

James McLeod
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale addresses the rank and file members of the PC Party Friday night at their annual convention in Gander.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale painted her current politicial woes as just another rough patch -- the type her party has endured many times before -- in her keynote speech at the PC Party’s annual convention in Gander Friday night.

Dunderdale received a warm welcome from the party rank and file, including five standing ovations throughout the speech, as she told members to be proud of the party’s accomplishments.

“Whenever someone tells you how bleak things are in Newfoundland and Labrador, set the record straight,” she began by saying. “On measure after measure, the evidence adds up to one undeniable conclusion: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are much better off, and our economy is much better off now than ever before.”

The PC Party is currently polling third for the first time in well over a decade, but Dunderdale reminded party members that this sort of thing has happened before.

She pointed to the fiscal crisis the PCs faced in 2004 shortly after taking office, and a brutal public service strike.

“We took a big political hit for that. We fell in the political polls. Our leader was being mocked daily in the press. There were calls for resignations. Does any of this sound familiar?” she said. “Do we break? Do we fall? No, we know this too shall pass, and our efforts to usher in an even brighter day for Newfoundland and Labrador will succeed, because Progressive Conservatives settle for nothing less than success.”

Dunderdale briefly mentioned the NDP, but it was the Liberals -- currently riding high in the polls -- that she saved her harshest attacks for.

She painted her political opponents as reckless, cynical cowards who would drive up the debt and bankrupt the province.

She pointed to the last time the Liberals were in power, before the Tories swept into office in 2003.

“The Liberals don’t like to talk about those years. The Liberals are desperate to keep people from remembering the reality that gripped our province when they held the reins a decade ago when taxes were higher and the debt was deeper, when wait times were longer and class sizes were larger, when jobs were fewer and opportunities were smaller,” she said. “Optimism was in desperately short supply.”

Dunderdale said people should be suspicious when other political parties demand better services from government, or make expensive promises.

“Every new demand they make, every new dollar they promise to spend is a dollar they would tear from the hands of hard working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” Dunderdale said. “They must realize that there is no such thing as the government’s money; it is the people’s money.”

Less than a minute later in her speech, Dunderdale listed off the “investments” her government is making.

“This year alone, we have been able to invest $2.9 billion in health care, $1.3 billion in education, $185 million to support children and families … $230 million for sustainable communities, $140 for poverty reduction and $100 million in incentives to grow businesses,” she said. “These are solid investments in the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

And as for the bad polling numbers, Dunderdale said that’s just what the party needs to keep from coasting.

“Let’s not be disheartened. We need to treat poor poll results as opportunities, because they keep us on our toes when we might be tempted to lay back and coast on our laurels.”

The PC convention runs through the weekend.


Organizations: PC Party, Progressive Conservatives

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Gander

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Recent comments

  • Coco
    September 22, 2013 - 09:38

    They can't do much worse than drop us all into a 50 year loan pit and sell our resources for cheaper than we can buy them ourselves. I wouldn't want to burst anyone's balloon but the new government will have to kick into survival mode just like in the years between Joey and Danny. And by the time our descendents almost get this loan paid off, another future premier will be taking out another one. So I wouldn't get my hopes up too much because that seems to be the modus operandi in this place.

  • Glenda
    September 22, 2013 - 08:50

    Ms. Dunderdale, you will need to be on your toes when Marshall, Kennedy, Collins, Hunter, Hedderson, Jackman, Wiseman, and others retire. Throw in rookies like Crummel, Little and especially Little John who all got in on Danny's coat tails and I see not only a loss for the PC's in the next election but a big loss.

  • Mike
    September 22, 2013 - 01:35

    The over-riding problem with Dunderdale and her minions is that she fails to understand that the people who put her in power can also remove her. She lacks the basic level of intelligence required to administer the duties of her office. The real question to be answered is, how much damage can she do before she is ousted, first by her own party, then her minions in 2015?

  • John Smith
    September 21, 2013 - 18:56

    ...funny. it was only a few months ago the Liberals were at 12% in the polls, and a million in debt...even funnier that the Tely wasn't writing a story a week about that...

    • Tony Rockel
      September 22, 2013 - 04:59

      You've been on your toes an awful lot lately "John". Your feet must be really sore. Never mind-- you'll be able to take a long rest after the next election.

  • Bill Smith
    Bill Smith
    September 21, 2013 - 13:55

    I am a former long term PC supporter but under Dunderdale and her current government I will never vote PC again. They arrogantly believe the economic boost is because of them, as if they put all that oil in the ground themselves. If it is so great here, why did they have to cut so many jobs, so many services, so many other things that hard working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians depend on to make their lives better? Why do their government have to hide behind Bill 29, and why push Muskrat Falls down our throats while dismissing opposing opinions on the matter? Let's face it folks, if things were so great here in NL, why are the PCs only getting around 20% approval? The fact is,voters here realize that the Dunderdale government is not responsible for any of it, but like bad leaders, they will take credit anyway to try and perpetuate the myth they should be loved by everyone. Not so, I have lived in NL my whole life and I can say that in terms of governments, Dunderdale's government is by far the worst I have seen. They rode in on the coat-tails of Danny Williams and only managed to get elected because of his popularity. Well, as it turns out, people are not being fooled any longer, and the polls show it. Come 2015, Dunderdale's government will be gone and our great province will have a fresh chance to have a good government to lead us.

  • Dale
    September 21, 2013 - 13:46

    Too late Kathy, all over, enjoy for ride.....soon over.

  • Brian
    September 21, 2013 - 12:39

    If this government was interested in the true feelings of the people , they wouldn't have manipulated the online polls . Remember Steve, Paul,Clyde and the rest padding the results and the premier saying it was an non issue . I guess what people really think is important and not to be ignored. There are consequences for not listening! Talk is cheap . This government has proven that they are not to be trusted .

  • Paul
    September 21, 2013 - 11:47

    Bad polls may keep you on your toes but the next election will put you on your ass.

  • holy smokes
    September 21, 2013 - 10:36

    Premier Kathy Dunderdale painted her current politicial woes as just another rough patch.....reminds me of the warning signs posted on some roads......'Rough road next 10 kilometres'......

  • Ken Collis
    September 21, 2013 - 09:33

    Ms. Dunderdale says "This year alone, we have been able to invest ..." My question is who exactly is the "We" she is refering to. Maybe it should read 'This year alone taxpayers have invested' and make mention of how much "We" have invested in Muskrat Falls, or would that be illegal under bill 29?

  • Harvey
    September 21, 2013 - 09:09

    The jobs were not created by this gov't. Bill 29 has duck taped the mouths of those seeking information. Cabinet ministers like Kevin O' Brien a loose cannon. Polls showing desperation for circus party. What more can one ask for ?

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    September 21, 2013 - 09:02

    Well, if bad polls keeps her on her toes. She will have spent that much of her political career on her toes she will be a shoe in for the National Ballet of Canada.

  • Dunderale Boo Hiss
    September 21, 2013 - 08:43

    She is the worst Premier in the history of the province and that's no easy feat with all of the competition. The province is being "successful" on a false economy based upon the Alberta oil sand's workers and the oil jockeys and tradespeople working locally on a few projects. Dunderdale is arrogant,condescending and bullyish and she and her party 's time is getting close to ending.We don't forget madame. I look forward to voting these arrogant bullies out in a few short years and bringing in a real and transparent government who aren't bought and paid for and work for the people not against them.

  • Pauline
    September 21, 2013 - 08:41

    LOL...Really, This is to funny to comment on, It almost like saying the liberal are running a honest campaign, After July 5/2013

  • Corporate Psycho
    September 21, 2013 - 08:29

    She is still blaming the Liberals? She is living in a dream world.

  • Pensioner
    September 21, 2013 - 08:25

    You are kidding yourself if you think people will forget your cut and slash actions while falling in with the business owners, throwing our money at a mill and TV show. Lets not forget the Muskrat money pit. Now you are talking about pensions. Well, you first premier and MHAs, you first. It's time for people to ban together to do something about you greedy politicians. As long as your pockets are lined and your future is bright the regular citizens of this province are expected to do with less. You might have covered up the building but we see through you. I know Danny was a hard act to follow but this is the government worst by far. Whoever leads the Liberals will be the next premier but that might be sad too.

  • W Bagg
    September 21, 2013 - 07:50

    bad polls keep your MHAs at their keyboards voting and voting and voting, clean cookies and vote again

  • Brian
    September 21, 2013 - 07:33

    This government spent the Peoples Money like Fools . They spent the Peoples Money without regard for the future because they knew best . This administration will go blindly ahead for two more years and hopefully the next government will be able to right the ship and chart a course that is reasonable and prudent . Let's hope that they don't do too much damage.

  • Me
    September 21, 2013 - 07:30

    No ... bad polls mean we don't want you.