Liberals eyeing fall election as they prepare to gather in Gander

James McLeod
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Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says he doesn’t just plan on being ready for a fall election — he wants a fall election, and thinks voters deserve one.
This weekend’s Liberal convention in Gander will be a big part of the party’s efforts to build a turnkey campaign machine that can fight a general election just as soon as premier-designate Frank Coleman calls it.

Dwight Ball

“We’re still clearly focused on making sure the party is ready for this fall,” Ball said. “With an incoming premier that has not really been elected by anyone … the people of the province are looking forward to an election this fall. “

It’s no wonder Ball is eager. For the first time in recent memory the Liberal party is on a more stable footing than the governing PC party, and the mood among the Grits is all about getting ready for the next election and likely forming government after that.

The Liberals are leading in the polls, and for the first time in years, the party leadership isn’t in flux. On top of that, the party was able to hold a successful fundraiser in St. John’s earlier this spring where about 500 people showed up for a $500-a-plate dinner.

Meanwhile, the Tory leadership is in transition, and Coleman has been mired in controversies surrounding his business practices, and his views on abortion and government privatization.

John Allan, who will take over as provincial Liberal party president during the weekend, said money is a big part of the party’s mandate in the next year.

“My main focus is going to be the fundraising, making sure that all 48 districts are growing in the same direction,” he said. “We want to make sure that all 48 districts are ready to go, and that the party is on a strong financial footing, which it is.”

Money is a tricky topic for the Liberals. With stable leadership and a resilient lead in the polls, cash is coming more easily, but they remain nearly $800,000 in debt.

When he took over as interim leader of the party 2 1/2 years ago, Ball said settling the debt was a priority for him. Since then, none of it has been paid off.

But both Ball and Allan said they’re negotiating with lenders behind the scenes to make something happen.

The Liberal gathering will also be a major chance for party members to debate policy, and there are 29 policy resolutions on the agenda, covering everything from the commercial sale of moose meat to a study of a tunnel to Labrador.

One resolution that’s drawing a bit of attention is a proposal to lower the voting age in the province to 16 years old.

Ball was noncommittal about whether he thinks that’s a good idea, but pointed out that during the Liberal leadership race, supporters as young as 14 could vote.

“I think it’s going to be a very spirited debate, and we’ll see where the party decides to take this,” he said.

The Telegram will have coverage from the Liberal convention online at on Saturday and throughout the weekend, as well as full coverage in Monday’s paper.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Tory

Geographic location: Gander

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Recent comments

  • godoggygo
    June 13, 2014 - 18:13

    Like the way that The Telegram label the Liberal Convention as a TORY organisation ! Someone tell James before he makes further mistakes.

  • Christopher Chafe
    June 13, 2014 - 14:07

    I love all the mindless banter back and forth amongst the Liberal and PC supporters, makes for a light read here in Edmonton. Here is my question though.....instead of both the opposition parties coming out and bashing government parties, why don't they come out and say what they would do differently. Dwight Ball should not rely on just the polling numbers......he should be out there and show the people of Newfoundland just what HE would do as Premier of NL, so there will not be any surprises come election Night like there were in Ontario and British Columbia.

  • Charles Murphy
    June 13, 2014 - 10:25

    Why are people so willing to jump? try and giving us some solution , to some of the problems.

  • Mark
    June 13, 2014 - 09:07

    Things look very bright for the Liberals but if they think they are just going to coast into power they are wrong. A lot can happen over a campaign and while Frank Coleman is a political rookie, the tory bunch behind the scenes are smarter than the crowd who run the Liberal opposition office.

  • Really Now
    June 13, 2014 - 08:22

    Nice to see all the PC trolls out in droves this morning. The Liberal's inability to address their own debt is a concern. However, let's not forget the $19 million that the PC's incoming leader was let off the hook with. How about the extra $2.3 billion for Muskrat Falls? What about the $300 million hydro line to the Avalon? How about the $600 million to clean up the mill in Grand Falls-Windsor? What about the $30 million hole in the ground when drilling for oil in Parsons Pond? The PCs spent like drunken sailors, have run this province so far into debt it will take more than oil to get us back. Are the Liberals the part to do it? I doubt it, but this PC government stinks of scandal, corruption and arrogance. Give me anyone else but that lot.

    • Robb
      June 13, 2014 - 12:31

      Hey "Really Now"....bla, bla, bla. What about the $19 million....bla bla bla. You liberals are all the substance, but lots of complaining. The liberals stink of scandal, and how could they not when you don't know if they are a liberal or and ndp...heck even a turncoat PC is in there. So don't pipe off with complaints....have some solutions...oh wait, that would mean the liberals have a policy, and we all know that will never happen. So you and the minion liberals have to do some big work to get any credibility, and you are all certainly scared to death that people will grow to love Frank Coleman over the next year or so. And for all you sooky liberals saying "hey, Coleman was not elected"....what is hecaba to he or he to hecaba? Grimes crawled in below Tobin and he certainly would not call a snap election...he stayed on even though he was not elected as premier....oh, so you say he was actually elected in some now you are saying that a few votes in one district justifies grimes being grade 2 is that?

    • Really Now
      June 13, 2014 - 15:54

      @robb - It's obvious you can't read that well. Where in what I wrote does it favour the Liberals? Nowhere. The fact you are blinded by your own partisanship makes my point enough that you can't see the arrogance or corruption from your nose! People will grow to love Coleman? I doubt it. I highly doubt the man wins his seat IF he ever calls a by-election, let alone the premiership. Take off those blue coloured glasses and realize that this province is in serious trouble - PERIOD. We've had a corrupt Liberal government, followed by an arrogant Williams government, followed by an incompetent Dunderdale government, followed by the latest revelations - a corrupt Marshall government. I'm concerned that we will have a Liberal government who stands for nothing & does absolutely nothing. They have zero policies & yet they will form the next government because of the mess that the PC's have left this place in. Period. I don't think there's enough competent MHAs in either the Liberals, PCs or NDP to dig us out of this mess. At least I'm not too stupid to recognize that simple fact.

  • Maggy Carter
    June 13, 2014 - 08:07

    The blackberryballing crowd on the eight floor are at it early this morning - Susan, George, Harold, Betty and Duggan - even 'What' - the names randomly assigned to fictional characters they'd like you to believe are just ordinary folk wary of Dwight Ball and his Liberal party. Yes, their faltering prose has all the earmarks of a con job - right down to the use of the wrong verb tense. Says Harold "..our young people is out of work..". Do you guys have a manual called 'How to Mimic Bad Grammar for Greater Authenticity' or do you make it up on the fly. There's the line about Ball selling the moose you need to keep you from starving next winter - even while this government is being sued for allowing too many of them on the highway. Then there's you-know-who - the lad that masquerades as John Smith. Says the Tory insider appointed chief unofficial apologist for NALCOR, "the people think the streets will be paved with gold when Dwight takes over". No, Steve, John, Billy-Bob..., we know all the gold has been squandered - $20 Billion in revenues with nothing to show for it or to pass on to our children except more bills. In a bid for a little credibility, Smitty admits "The PCs are bad, true...but". What an understatement Johnny! You’re a disgraceful bunch of charlatans, plotters and schemers supported now only by the rich few with pockets lined by taxpayer cash. If your a loyal Tory, this government will go to the wall for you - even to the point of forgiving a $20 million guarantee you won't screw up the big fat contracts they give you. Come election time, you'll be hard pressed to find any intelligent Newfoundlander that wants to vote Tory. Ball says the voters deserve an early election but he shouldn't hold his breath. My guess is these guys will continue to pamper themselves with public funds for as long as the law allows. They'll preen and prance and puff themselves up for another year before they're dragged kicking and screaming to the woodshed to take their medicine. We've put up with a lot Johnny. Your comeuppance can wait a while longer.

    • Robb
      June 13, 2014 - 12:34

      Hey Maggie...what a load, and said very eloquently too.

    • Happily Retired
      June 13, 2014 - 14:39

      Maggy, Using your own logic, doesn't that make you a Liberal shill. I'm not voting Tory, but I don't accuse everybody who disagrees with me with being a PC employee. The name calling only hurts your pont of view.

    • Happily Retired
      June 13, 2014 - 14:40

      Maggy, Using your own logic, doesn't that make you a Liberal shill. I'm not voting Tory, but I don't accuse everybody who disagrees with me with being a PC employee. The name calling only hurts your point of view.

  • What
    June 13, 2014 - 07:39

    Dwight Ball saying they are dealing with the $800K debt, but none of it paid off??? Is this the type of Premier he will be? Scary.

    • What
      June 13, 2014 - 08:14

      And he has been leader for 2 1/2 years and little to nothing done!!

    • Sick of the Shills
      June 13, 2014 - 10:50

      You think that's scary? Take a look ouside your window sometime. What did the PC's and Williams say the same about the provincial debt 10 years ago? How many billions in non-renewable resource money have they frittered away? How many billions have they mortgaged on Muskrat Falls? The PC's had the money to pay it down but chose to buy votes instead. You'll note the PC party coffers are full while the province is one big drop in the price of oil away from bankruptcy. Don't think that will happen? Guess again, it's happened many ties already.

    • Robb
      June 13, 2014 - 12:22

      Alright "Sick of the Shills", you need to tone it down a little. Stop with the scare tactics, that's way too liberal of you. For one, if you think the price of oil is going to drop....ever....then you are out of touch with there goes the mystery already. And yes, I don't think it can happen. Like all you crystal ball liberals, I can say that the price of oil will never go below current prices, if anything it will increase big time.....but for you liberals who don't understand that there is only so much oil on the planet, and all of the economics behind that, maybe you should take care of your own party's economics first. Then take some business courses and then come back and talk your big talk.

  • Duggan
    June 13, 2014 - 06:49

    The PC's have more than $1.5 million in the bank just waiting to go.The Liberals need more than money (which is very important) but they also need the credible candidates the could not attract over the past eleven years.

  • Betty
    June 13, 2014 - 06:26

    If I hear the Liberal, one more time, saying this government. Dwight show us some kind of leadership abilities, You sir along with the rest of your gang is telling the people, that the liberal are planning on " DIVERSIFICATION OF OUR ECONOMY" is this what your talking about. starts shipping out our moose meat, Its back enough our young are being ship out. to make room for foreign worker. No vote from me.

  • John Smith
    June 13, 2014 - 05:58

    What do the Liberals have to offer? They have offered nothing in my opinion...other than to say they are going to cut back on health care spending, while at the same time promising to put a PET scanner in Corner Brook, which is ludicrous.They have not put one iota of policy forward, yet people think the streets will be paved with gold when Dwight takes over. Take a good look at the Liberals before you vote. Do you really want Eddy Joyce and Sam Slade running the show? Really? The PCs are bad, true...but the Liberals, truly inept, no plan, no vision...other than to keep very very quiet, and hope the electorate have grown tired of the PCs....that's their plan...that's all they have....sad, how very, very sad...

    • Ken Collis
      June 13, 2014 - 07:24

      I agree that all of them are a poor bunch but the PC's have shown already how bad a government can be. I think the 10% chance that the Libs will do something good is better than the 100% chance that the PC's will screw us over. On another note, I'll vote for whatever party promises to put 100% of the gains from Muskrat Falls towards reducing a rate increase, and of course, showing Minister Martin the door without the usual golden parachute.

    • Muskrateer
      June 13, 2014 - 08:13

      Doesn't Dwight support Muskrat Falls?

    • Robb
      June 13, 2014 - 08:57

      Well Ken, the PCs have shown already how bad a gov't is...??? really need to back statements like that up pal. Bad?....what's bad....employment is sky high, housing is thorough the roof, we the people own a stake in the oil, everyone has a new car, wages are high (if you have educated yourself properly), so bad...??...I really don't get that cop-out crap. Look around you , and if you think it's bad, then you don't remember the liberal give-away years, and certainly if you think Ball has any great vision, plan, or policy, then you must be dreaming.

  • Harold
    June 13, 2014 - 05:36

    Yes sir, Liberal got something to be proud of, floor crosser and back stabbers, And the " QUEEN " of foreign worker. while our own young people is out of work. Now Dwight is planning on selling of our moose meat, something we Newfoundlanders and Labradorian, need to help bring us though the winter months.

  • George
    June 13, 2014 - 05:26

    Dwight the only reason your there, Because Mr Kelly wasn't doing anything for his district. Some what like yourself. Where is the help you promise Jackson's Arm ?

  • Susan
    June 13, 2014 - 05:20

    Liberals would like a fall election, reason I'm saying this, they are hoping the people don't wake up, until its all over with. " BOYS " did you get your moose, " NOPE" Liberals sold its to China.