Williams' greatest hits
A look back at some of the more memorable moments of Danny Williams' tenure as premier.
A look back at some of the more memorable moments of Danny Williams' tenure as premier.
Today is Danny Williams’ last day as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On Wednesday, he took a break from packing up his office on the eighth floor of Confederation Building to do a final interview with The Telegram.
Since announcing his resignation last week, he’s been riding an emotional roller-coaster. Williams said if the electorate had handed him a defeat it would almost be easier to leave than it has been walking away on his own terms.
“The emotional outpouring from the public … has been absolutely overwhelming,” he said.
“It’s one thing to … have popular support in (opinion) polls but, it’s another thing to have the people saying it and showing it and feeling it, and that’s really had a huge impact on me personally.
“Letting go of that has been extremely, extremely difficult.”
The premier’s imminent departure has also been emotional for his cabinet, caucus and staff.
“We’re a family here. We’re a team that works together,” he said.
The past week has brought a range of…
For the past week, everywhere he goes, Mark Critch has been hearing the same thing, over and over.
“People are just shouting out constantly — ‘What are you going to do now, Critch?’ I was on Parliament Hill this week and all you’d hear was ‘Oh my God, Critch, what are you going to do?’ French guys, MPs from all over the place were asking. Jeez, b’ys, I didn’t step down,” the “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” funnyman told The Telegram.
Critch has been poking fun at former premier Danny Williams on the CBC TV show for the past five or six years. It started off as an impression — Critch was spot-on with Williams’ accent, hand gestures, even hairstyle — and he decided to incorporate it as a joke for a gig he was doing at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre which Williams was also attending. The idea was to get Williams to “catch” him doing the impression, but one thing led to another, and Williams not only showed up willing…
As the elevator in the lobby of Confederation Building opened just after 11:30 Thursday morning a capacity crowd stood and cheered.
The applause lasted for almost two minutes before Premier Danny Williams asked the crowd to take their seats so he could announce, after seven years, he was resigning from politics.
“In every person’s life, there comes a time when the tough decisions have to be faced head on no matter how difficult they may be,” said Williams. “(Filmmaker) Orson Welles once said that ‘if you want a happy ending you need to know when to end your story.’ And so I’ve ... called you here today to announce the end of my story as the ninth premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Flanked by his caucus, many sporting long faces or wiping away tears, Williams announced deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale would take over as premier once his resignation takes effect Dec. 3.
“With the completion of the Lower Churchill deal, it is time for new leadership and new ideas within the PC Party of…
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A sketch of Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Education: Studied political science and economics at Memorial University in Newfoundland before he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1969. He received a degree in arts and law at Oxford University in England then returned to Canada to study law at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Early career: Williams became a criminal lawyer. While he was studying at Dalhousie, he also led a consortium of business people who sought Newfoundland and Labrador's first cable TV licence. In 2000, he sold Cable Atlantic for $232 million.
Political Career: Became leader of the Progressive Conservative party in 2001, later winning a byelection in June of that year to take a seat in the legislature. Became premier in a big win for his party on October 21, 2003, and won a second majority government four years later.
Private life: An active hockey player, Williams was a well-known figure in junior hockey circles in St. John's and played a…
Danny Williams in his own words during his seven-year stint as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:
"They're trying to make fools of us,'' Williams told a crowd at the airport in St. John's after walking out of a meeting in Ottawa in 2004 over a dispute with then-prime minister Paul Martin on offshore oil revenues, which led to Canadian flags being removed from public buildings in the province.
"Stay strong. It might be a long while before we get this. We may not get it. But someone is going to come along at some point in time and they're going to give us our just desserts in this province and we're going to thank them.''
''There's a point where people who don't respect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and who don't treat us with respect, will get it back in spades from me,'' Williams said after appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" in March 2006 to oppose ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's anti-seal hunt views.
''I certainly wasn't going to allow the McCartneys…
Teresita Williams was arguably the proudest person at the Confederation Building following the premier’s announcement he was leaving politics.
Danny Williams’ mother beamed as she expressed the pride she feels over his many accomplishments as premier.
“I’m very thrilled for him,” she said, adding, “He deserves a good rest.”
Support for Williams, his premiership and even his decision to leave was easy to find Thursday.
It came from his friends, colleagues, business people, the labour movement, municipal leaders and, it seemed, anyone who could talk.
Don Johnson is such a close friend he was appointed chairman of the Williams Family Foundation, the charity to which the premier donated his salary.
He said it was a shame to see Williams leave office, but he said he understood the decision. Johnson was also happy his pal would have more time just to say hello.
“From my point of view, you get a friend back,” Johnson said. “You don’t understand that when a friend gets elected premier, you lose them. The people love the public Danny Williams. Boy, I can’t…
HALIFAX - It will be tougher for Newfoundland and Labrador to complete the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project without the commanding presence of Premier Danny Williams at the helm, a leading expert on the Atlantic Canadian economy says.
Donald Savoie, a professor at the University of Moncton, said the Conservative premier's stunning decision Thursday to step away from politics could stall the $6.2-billion project that was announced only last week amid great fanfare.
"I think it will make it much more difficult because Danny Williams has a powerful, powerful personality that can drive change," said Savoie, who has served as adviser to several federal and provincial governments, the United Nations and World Bank.
"There's a lot that needs to be done. ... It's one thing to announce it and sign an agreement; it's quite another thing to deliver the goods."
Williams has long identified the proposed megaproject as a central goal of his political career and he cited last week's announcement as an achievement that helped him decide it was time…
Two premiers heralded a new era of Atlantic co-operation Thursday, announcing a $6.2-billion power deal expected to see electricity flow via subsea cable from Muskrat Falls in Labrador to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia within six years.
“I guess we need to make it clear: this project is a go,” Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said at a media briefing Thursday.
“This is not only a great regional project; this is a great national project.”
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said increased co-operation on energy issues will strengthen the economic foundation of the Atlantic region.
“I have always said that what is good for Newfoundland is good for Nova Scotia; what is good for Nova Scotia is good for New Brunswick,” Dexter told reporters in St. John’s.
“Having success on the East Coast benefits us all.”
In making the deal, Newfoundland and Labrador avoided Quebec — something Williams stressed was a priority.
The province instead found support — in the form of transmission assistance and bundles of cash — in its Maritime neighbour.
The deal will see…
Premier Danny Williams got a first-hand look at the magnitude of the damage wrought by hurricane Igor as he toured part of the province Wednesday by helicopter.
“This is worse than we’ve seen,” Williams said as he flew over Random Island.
“I’ve never seen as much damage compacted in a small area.”
Williams, along with Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson, Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman and Education Minister Darin King, left St. John’s Wednesday morning to begin the tour on the Burin Peninsula.
The group met up with Trinity North MHA Ross Wiseman and Bonavista South MHA Roger Fitzgerald in Clarenville before flying over Random Island.
Williams is set to tour the Bonavista Peninsula today.
“We’ve seen a lot of damage to personal homes and to infrastructure,” Williams said.
“I’m glad I saw it because it gives me, and the ministers that were with me, an idea of the magnitude; the value of what we have to tackle here.”
The politicians craned their necks to see out the helicopter’s windows to witness the destruction below.…
If Danny Williams’ language was any stronger, the audience might have been asked to excuse his French.
The premier wouldn’t want them to excuse Quebec, though.
In a speech to a St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon Wednesday, he called Quebec’s approach to the Lower Churchill hydro development obstructionist, abhorrent and intolerable.
“When it comes to Hydro-Quebec, we’re taking no prisoners, believe me,” he said.
The Lower Churchill is a megawatt megaproject that’s a “major priority” for Newfoundland and Labrador.
While Williams said his province is proceeding wisely, he blasted Quebec for blocking the transmission of 3,000 megawatts from the Labrador river.
It wasn’t his first offensive against that province for its position, but it was arguably his strongest.
The premier pointed to Quebec’s letter protesting an application for federal funds to run a transmission line across the Cabot Strait to Nova Scotia.
He said the correspondence, signed by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, argued such funding would amount to an unfair subsidy and place Hydro-Quebec at a disadvantage.
Williams called that “unabashed hypocrisy.”
Quebec, he noted, made $2.3 billion…