© Rudy Norman
Premier hopeful, Bill Barry, speaks at the Riverwood Inn in Springdale at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.
PC Party Leader and Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador hopeful, Bill Barry, was in Springdale on Thursday speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Springdale and Area Chamber of Commerce.
“This is my prop,” Barry said, reaching for a wooden stool and setting it in front of his audience. It was reminiscent of when he announced his leadership bid in Corner Brook a few weeks ago, as he would alternate between standing, sitting, pacing and occasionally drifting over to a nearby table for a drink of water.
Barry spoke without notes, talking from memory when reciting numbers relating to offshore oil production, the province’s finances and Muskrat Falls.
He referred to Newfoundland and Labrador as “Newfoundland Inc.” on a couple of occasions during his speech and said, if he gets to be Premier, he intends to run the province like a business.
Barry says he’s concerned that the province’s revenues and economy are too reliant of non-renewable offshore oil, and criticized the government for, in his opinion, appearing not to have alternative plans.
“My father always told me to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” he said. “Always have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D. Looking at the finances of this province, I worry that there’s no plan B, let alone Plan C or D, and that’s why I want to be Premier.”
The Corner Brook businessman, who made his money in fish processing as owner of the Barry Group, a consortium of companies that includes fish processing and aquaculture operations in various locations across the province, spoke much about his experience travelling the world and finding ways that this province can benefit from how things are done in other jurisdictions – especially Norway.
He also took on his critics, including former Premier Danny Williams just this week, who have spoken out against his style and message,.
“Look across the province and you see a lot of grey heads,” Barry said. “We’re a declining population. Some people would say that’s BS, but I don’t think it is.”
He was referring to comments earlier this week when Williams called the report by the Conference Board of Canada a similar obscenity, and then criticized Barry on a number of fronts.
“Danny Williams doesn’t like me, and I’m fine with that,” he said.
At the end of his talk, Barry opened the floor for questions. One gentleman suggested that he’d spent much of his time explaining to the audience what was wrong with what the current PC Government is doing and has done in the past.
“You’ve told us what’s wrong, now tell us how you’re going to fix it,” the man said. Barry’s response was simple.
“Elect me and find out.”
For more coverage of Bill Barry’s visit, keep checking the web site and next Thursday’s Nor’wester.
To hear the full audio of Bill Barry's Speech to the Springdale and Area Chamber of Commerce, click here.