500 pay $500 per plate

James McLeod
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Liberals hold biggest fundraiser in provincial history

“Is this a good time to be a Liberal or what?” Liberal Leader Dwight Ball exclaimed.

Liberal party faithful packed the main ballroom at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s Monday night as the party held a fundraising dinner and auction, with Liberal Leader Dwight Ball giving the keynote address.

Nobody could remember a Liberal fundraiser like it in recent memory — 500 seats sold in the Delta Hotel ballroom at $500 a plate.

The business community showed up in big numbers, with companies such as CIBC, Vale, Oceanex and Pennecon buying tables.

Ball said it was the biggest fundraiser the Liberals have held in the province’s history.

Liberal fundraiser John Allan said the money from Monday night’s event is good for the party — not just the roughly $250,000 in tickets for the event, but also an auction that saw items such as dinner for 10 at Raymonds, which sold for $3,000.

But Allan said it’s also about the business community in St. John’s coming out to hear what Ball has to say, and being willing to support the party.

Ball’s speech was mostly attacks on the Tory record, peppered with assurances that the Liberals will do better.

He called the Tory record bleak, and took aim at incoming PC party leader Frank Coleman.

“No one else wanted the job,” Ball said, adding that every other member of the PC party effectively said, “We want to be led.”

He talked about high unemployment, high diabetes rates and high government debt.

He said despite record oil revenues, the PC party hasn’t made the province any better. He rattled off economic indicators which show that the province is lagging behind other parts of Canada.

“The oil has made this government lazy,” Ball said. “We’re the worst, the last and the lowest. And Frank Coleman wants to keep it going.”

Towards the end of the speech, Ball pivoted, and started talking about his vision.

“We can be the best, we can be the first and we can be the highest,” he said. “We need to think of the future as now, and put in motion an aggressive plan so 10 years from now, no one will be making a speech about another legacy of lost opportunity. No one will be asking what happened to a promise of a better future.

“The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador has a plan, and on my word, so help me, we will stick to it.”

From there, Ball got down to some specifics.

He promised to reduce the province’s debt and diversify the economy. He said major health-care reform will be a big part of that.

“Our plan will introduce a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach that will start us on the road to better health care for our people, beginning with a youth wellness program,” he said. “In the meantime, we need to introduce short- and long-term strategies, smarter ways to make our health-care delivery better for everyone.”

He promised to reverse the Tories’ cut to the family violence intervention court.

He also talked about youth employment, education and changes to the way the government manages natural resources in Labrador. He said mental health needs to be a bigger part of the health-care system.

After the speech was over, talking to reporters, Ball acknowledged it was the skeleton of a campaign speech for an election that’s still more than a year away.

The sheer number of people in the room — with companies and individuals paying to be there — says people are willing to listen to him.


Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Tory, Delta Hotel, CIBC Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Canada, Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Pierre Neary
    May 13, 2014 - 16:33

    Danny Williams was a great orator. I think Dwight Ball showed he is as well.

  • Harvey
    May 13, 2014 - 11:19

    The corporate hawks were there in full force, knowing that they can take full advantage of Ball' naievete. I see him as a person with no intellectual depth, no real sense of political depth. Another disaster if fate allows him to become premier.

  • Charles
    May 13, 2014 - 11:13

    Dwight, if you call this leadership abilities, Man you suck at its big time. All I hear is words, with no foundation, Come on I challenge you to present to the people, just one Viable plan how the Liberals under your leadership is going to improve our economy. Would its be something like standing by, and watching the PC's passing over 110 millions to CBPP, with out creating more jobs in the plant along with the forestry. Or maybe something like the people of Jackson Arm, make work project, follow by starvation. Or are you talking about creating jobs into the fracking field of disaster? So far the only thing I hear from you, IS THIS GOVERNMENT,, Give us the Liberals plan? Or is that asking to much?

  • Gerry.
    May 13, 2014 - 10:33

    Now pray tell me, what was in Ball's presentation that is outstanding or remarkable or that sets him apart from the other parties. I hear words, words, words .... a few folks might want to hear .... a few enticing phrases ... nothing of substance ... just words. Has he said how he is going to diversify the economy; reduce the province's debt; provide better health care and major health care reform; introduce a multi-pronged approach to government; introduce short and long-range strategies.? He has a plan. Nice words .... but what do they mean? What is the plan? Isn't this typical political balderdash? Haven't we heard this tape before? Of course we have. The answer my friend is "blowin' in the wind", the answer is "blowin in the wind". And they think we are so gullible and naive. So just don't tell us you "have a plan". Tell us what is in the plan and by what ways and means you will change the existing paradigm to make you any different from what we already have. Lay it out for us now so we have lots of time to ponder and reflect and to make a determination as to what will make your party's government more appealing. Don't wait until a couple of weeks before the election. We want to know now.

  • Robb
    May 13, 2014 - 09:01

    He got nothing, period. The only thing he can do is try to convince everyone that Coleman is bad or weird, or something. He is scared to death that Coleman will outshine the liberals in every way. And Coleman seems like no nonsense...none of this character assassination, that is a pure liberal tactic.

  • Delight with Dwight
    May 13, 2014 - 08:40

    Great job Dwight! Don't mind all the sooky ole Tories complaining, they haven't had an original idea for years now. All they can do is blame the Liberals for their/our short comings. They signed their/our elected positions off to private outsiders with interests not about the people of the province. Because the Pc's will break one rule and hide behind another and say its complicated for the idiots here to understand. Thanks to the Pc's though for keeping us Newfi's all these years. We've had enough Tory times, which are HARD TIMES, and the people have had enough of the stalling, the lack of answers and the lies. Dwight has a lot to offer and one thing that the Tory's will never have again from this province and that is respect!

  • Ball is like them all
    May 13, 2014 - 08:26

    How can you say you are a party of the people when everyone sitting there is corporate??

  • Sarah
    May 13, 2014 - 07:41

    "Ball said it was the biggest fundraiser the Liberals have held in the province’s history." The headnote says "Liberals hold biggest fundraiser in provincial history"...is that accurate...should it not say the Liberals hold THEIR biggest fundraiser in provincial history for it was the biggest by the Liberals however I do not believe it was the Province's biggest fundraiser.....based on numbers there have been many events for causes politics or otherwise that have had more than 500 participants, if based on revenue there have been many causes that raised over $250,000.00....as for many corporate tables, the majority of the fundraisers I attend have corporate tables usually from the same sources, and if you look at the donors lists for politics you will see corporate overlap...so it really does not mean they support the Liberals....numbers mean nothing until election night

  • Too Funny
    May 13, 2014 - 07:23

    "The business community showed up in big numbers, with companies such as CIBC, Vale, Oceanex and Pennecon buying tables." It was a criticism of the Tories of how they were in the pockets of big business. But big business has more than one pocket and plenty of room for all parties. To think, there are people out there that believe that there is a difference between the political parties.

  • John Q.
    May 13, 2014 - 07:15

    Expensive hamburger..... Lol.

  • Ben
    May 13, 2014 - 06:09

    Ball promised to help the people of Jackson's Arm, a town in his district. They are still waiting! To hear Ball talk he is promising the moon, he is so out of touch with reality. Can't wait for people to see what Ball is all about.