Premier in waiting won’t say when

James McLeod
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Marshall says Coleman can have the job any time after July 5

Frank Coleman can take over as premier of the province whenever he wants after July 5, but if the incoming premier has a plan for how to manage the transition of power, he’s not saying.

Frank Coleman. — File photo

PC Party delegates will rubber-stamp Coleman’s leadership, and the party will also hold election readiness sessions and elections for officers on the party executive.

But after he’s formally endorsed by the party membership, it’s not clear when exactly Coleman will move into the premier’s office.

Carmel Turpin, spokeswoman for Coleman, said that he doesn’t know when he’ll take over until he talks to current premier Tom Marhsall about it.

Marshall, in an emailed statement to The Tel-egram, said after July 5, Coleman will be premier just as soon as he wants to be.

“I am ready to step aside whenever Mr. Coleman asks me to. That will be sometime after July 5. However, the exact time frame has not been decided,” Marshall said.

A VOCM news report suggested that Coleman doesn’t want to be premier all that soon. In fact, the report suggests that he might take the summer to tour around the province and talk to people before he actually gets sworn in and takes the reins of power.

Because Coleman would not agree to an interview, The Telegram cannot confirm this, but Turpin said that if that’s the plan, it’s news to her.

“I don’t know where they got it. They certainly haven’t talked to me,” she said.

Coleman was also not willing to speak to The Telegram regarding accusations that the leadership process was rigged against Bill Barry, and that’s why he dropped out.

Barry told The Telegram that Coleman avoided debating him and used his support within caucus to dominate delegate selection meetings.

But leadership convention co-chairman Tommy Williams said he saw Barry’s allegations in the newspaper, but really, it wasn’t a violation of the rules.

Barry complained about an orchestrated effort for cabinet ministers to endorse Coleman, and slates of candidates being run at district meetings.


Standard practice

Williams pointed out that in most leadership races, slates of delegates is standard, even though Barry said he wouldn’t be doing it.

“Mr. Barry said early in his campaign he did not want to participate in slates in terms of district meetings,” he said. “If it didn’t work for his campaign, it doesn’t mean we have to eliminate it for every other candidate.”

The same goes for the caucus endorsements, Williams said.

“There’s no rigging or no stacking. People supported who they felt they wanted to. And if Mr. Barry chose to proceed with his campaign in such a fashion, he’s free to do so. But just because that may not have worked out for him doesn’t mean we need to change the rules,” he said.

“If Mr. Barry decided to withdraw, that’s totally within his purview to do. But now that he’s withdrawn, he can’t ask us now to change the rules so he can come back in.”



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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 25, 2014 - 19:22

    Danny and Tommy Ford will make the call.

  • Unhappy
    April 25, 2014 - 12:30

    It a sad situation unfolding in our great land of N & L. When I was a very young person, growing up. I discover my grandfather fought in the great war. along with a couple of my uncle's. Thing is he was a very kind and gentle person, but I could not understand why this man would go to war. So for many years I put its out of mind growing up. I didn't wanted him to relive any of those bad memory. Sad thing everything in school. we had assignment hands out to us one day. Concerning, did we know of anyone who fought in the great war. I didn't know what to think, How was I going to ask my grandfather about the great war. with out hurting him. Few days went by. time was running out to turn in my assignment, So I got the nerves up to ask. So I approach the kindness and most gentle person I knew. to ask a question concerning his war experience. His answer to me was, Because of my children and grandchildren.. He also said, the freedom of choice. Sad thing today we don't have what ours grandfathers fought for. By the way,,, I did get B+...Not bad,, today I still have that same assignment. along with my grandfather picture.

  • wtf
    April 25, 2014 - 10:26

    Maybe he doesn't want to take over the premiership until elected or an election is called. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    April 25, 2014 - 10:23

    If the party and Coleman both wanted it, there would be nothing stop him from becoming Premier tomorrow. Since there is now only one candidate, confirming him as leader is as simple as holding an executive meeting and issuing a decision to that effect. And while Coleman must be elected before he can sit in the House, nothing prevents him from becoming premier immediately. We can assume therefore that neither Coleman nor the party sees any great urgency in providing new leadership for this government. That is one thing – but far more ominous is the speculation by Marshall that maybe Coleman won’t even become premier after July 5th. It might be late summer or early fall before Marshall resigns his seat to make way for Coleman’s election. Fine, but again that does not stop him from resigning as premier to allow Coleman to take over within a few days of his confirmation by the party. So, really, what’s afoot here? Are we looking perhaps at a continuation of this government’s penchant for devious, secretive, anti-democratic behavior? Could it be that Coleman and the party have already determined that their best chance of winning a general election would be to postpone it as long as possible. The province’s election act already prescribes the date of October 15, 2015 for the next general election – unless there is a change of premier in which case it must be held earlier. The assumption by the media, the opposition parties and most everyone else has been that the legal requirement to hold a general election within a year of choosing a new premier would mean an election in the spring of 2015 (no later than July but of course no one calls an election in summer). That provision exists incidentally to protect democracy itself – to ensure that the province is not ruled any longer than necessary by a government with an unelected leader. So if Coleman decides to delay taking over as premier until – say – the fall of this year, does that mean he can extend the date for a general election to the following fall. Well, due to a flaw in the legislation, that is exactly what it means. The Act states that “the person who is elected by the party to replace him or her as the leader of the party and who is sworn in as the Premier of the province by the Lieutenant-Governor shall, not later than 12 months afterward, provide advice to the Lieutenant-Governor that the House of Assembly be dissolved and a general election be held”. So the clock does not start ticking when the party elects its new leader but rather when he/she has been sworn in as premier. While new leaders are typically sworn in within a week, the legislation does not set a time limit. Coleman could opt to have Marshall remain in the premier’s chair while he – as Marshall puts it – “travels the province to meet with residents” (in other words, to conduct a major campaign). Theoretically, Coleman could have Marshall resign his seat in September but remain on as premier until Coleman has won that seat in a mid-October by-election. In that way Coleman wouldn’t have to face the electorate in a general election until mid-October, 2015. But wait – we’re not done with the potential for Machiavellian manipulation just yet. With a federal election scheduled for October 19, 2015, the new premier Coleman could advise the Lieutenant Governor of a need to reschedule the election to – say – the following spring. Hence a small legislative oversight could theoretically deprive the electorate of the intended assurance that a party with an unelected new leader could not govern for more than 12 months before going to the polls – potentially more than 24 months after Dunderdale’s resignation. I hasten to add this scenario is hypothetical. There are perhaps unscrupulous leaders who could who could exploit such a loophole but I am hopeful that, given Coleman’s reputation as a person of integrity, he would not engage in such skullduggery. Nevertheless it is a glitch in the legislation that should be fixed.

    • Concerned
      April 26, 2014 - 11:57

      Mr. Marshall please close the loopholes that can allow glitches like those Fintip speaks about in this post.

  • John Q Public
    April 25, 2014 - 08:57

    So? He wants to be premier and all of the PC caucus wants him to be premier but he doesn't know exactly when he wants it to happen! I recall a time in our history when an sitting premier wasn't wanted by his party so he started a "reform" party. This Coleman/PC fiasco has got to be more embarrassing to Newfoundlanders than was the Smallwood/Liberal Reform stunt.

  • Scott
    April 25, 2014 - 08:17

    What is wrong with everyone, Liberal had a fix campaign, Only thing I see here, the PC's took lesson from the libs. fix is a fix, so stop complaining, offer a solution. Because if the PC's have to open up nomination once more, Liberals should have to do the same. all because what took place in 2013.

    • Sick of the shills
      April 25, 2014 - 10:05

      Here's a solution: have Coleman take the reins immediately, call a general election immediately and let the entire electorate decide who's going to be premier. Anything less is unacceptable. It seems to me that the PC's are just trying to milk every last drop out of the tax paid cow before they're kicked to the curb.

  • Linda
    April 25, 2014 - 07:43

    Hello Honest Frank, where do you stand on gay relationship.

    • Deb
      April 25, 2014 - 09:22

      Good question Linda, Mr. Coleman has already stated he is Pro-Life supporter. I wonder what would be his position be if a Catholic Priest in NL sexual assaulted a woman and the woman became pregant. Pro-Life supporters are similar to Republician Pro-Life and No Gays..I would only hope someone would take a stand here for others, not just one Ideology from a business man we know nothing about..Putin

  • Darrin O'Brien
    April 25, 2014 - 07:13

    This is an insult to Newfoundlanders far a wide. To have a proclaimed Premier that doesn't know when he want's to take the job. The people of this fine province deserve better. Anyone else agree?

  • carogers
    April 25, 2014 - 06:55

    What is this mans problem? does he want the job or not? He is acting like a shy school boy not a leader of a province. I am fed up with his wishy washy attitude already.

  • Oh my
    April 25, 2014 - 05:45

    This is a disgusting farce, the likes which we have never seen before. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should be outraged at how a select few are trampling our democracy for their own ends. And this Coleman person, what is this supposed to be??