Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s resignation Wednesday will set in motion a whole series of political ripples through the government, but for today, Tories were just talking about her accomplishments and her legacy.
For the time being, Finance Minister Tom Marshall will take the job as interim premier, but the jockeying for the permanent gig is bound to start almost immediately.Within the Tory caucus, five cabinet ministers are widely seen to
be the favour-ites: Justice
Minister Darin King, Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings, Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent, and Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis.
All five were in the crowd of MHAs flanking Dunderdale during her resignation speech, but Davis and King made quick exits after it was over.
Dalley wouldn’t even say that he’s thinking about running for the top job; on Wednesday, he said he just wanted to focus to stay on Dunderdale.
“I’m certainly proud of her,
and I certainly respect the decision that she’s made,” he said. “If you look at the past three years, we’ve had tremendous successes in this province. I think we can point to Muskrat Falls, which is a tremendous piece of work.”
As for the future of the party, Dalley said he’s optimistic, but leave that for another day.
“This is about Premier Dunderdale today. All I can say is I believe our party is in great shape, I believe our province is in our great shape. I suspect there’s going to be quite a bit of interest in leading our party and leading our province,” he said.
Hutchings, similarly, wanted to keep the focus on Dunderdale Wednesday.
“Today is certainly a reflection on the premier’s 10 years in public life,” he said. “Anybody who spends 10 years in public life, certainly, in the role she was in, certainly, as a province we need to be appreciative of that and, you know, certainly be proud of her accomplishments.”
As for his own future, Hutchings said, he’s thinking about it.
“That’s something we’ll certainly work through over the coming days.”
The PC Party is expected to hold a leadership race and pick a new leader this spring, but none of the details have been nailed down yet.
Meanwhile, some of Dunderdale’s closest allies in politics were just sad to see her go.
“She’s just a kind, considerate, principled lady that we will greatly miss,” Business Minister Charlene Johnson said.
“At the same time, I’m very happy for her. She’s happy. She’s come to this decision on her own. We’ve all supported her from day one, and I wish her all the best.”