At the Hotel Gander this weekend, Liberals are buzzing, and the feeling among party members is that they're right on the verge of government after 11 long years in opposition.
© James McLeod photo
The Liberal convention is taking place in Gander this weekend
All throughout the Friday night opening ceremonies, there were jubilant references to the next Liberal government, and the next Liberal premier, and winning the next general election.
The sense of confidence among the Liberal party was so strong hat leader Dwight Ball used his short speech to caution members not to get too cocky.
“What I felt more than ever before coming into a convention was confidence. People, you know, you've just got a different swagger with you now,” he said. “But I tell you, we've got to be careful. We've got to be careful because we are nowhere near the finish line.”
Ball said that the weekend convention marks the kick-off of the Liberals' election campaign.
With premier-designate Frank Coleman ready to take the reigns of the PC Party leadership in early July, he will have one year to call an election.
Liberals clearly feel good about their chances of beating Coleman.
The party is riding high in the polls – both in Newfoundland and Labrador, and also nationally – and the convention comes one day after a decisive election win for the Liberal Party in Ontario.
One organizer said that the Liberal gathering in Gander this weekend is likely the biggest convention they've had since the leadership convention involving Roger Grimes and John Efford.
Today, Liberals will turn their attention to policy and party organizing. Incoming party president John Allan has said that he wants to make strong district organizations and fund raising the top priority.
Privately, some Liberals echoed Ball's sentiments – that fighting back against complacency and over-confidence needs to be a priority too.