Now that it's official and Kathy Dunderdale has resigned as premier, I think it's imperative for all of us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to thank her for her service and time as premier. She may not go down as the most popular premier ever, but the fact that she served at a time when no one else stepped up and the fact that she also replaced Danny Williams are impressive feats for which she should be commended.
Now, the focus becomes who will run? The fact that the person who wins this race will become the premier is something that should be seen as an honour for any one of the candidates who steps up. Their name will be added to the names of Joey Smallwood, Frank Moores, Brian Peckford, Tom Rideout, Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin, Beaton Tulk, Roger Grimes, Danny Williams, Kathy Dunderdale and Tom Marshall. This premier will help to set the tone for this province going forward into the next election.
Many names have cropped up already as being interested. I think that they will take the time to consult with their friends and family as to what they should do. It is my opinion that it may be early to mid-February before anyone comes forward for this job. It is also my opinion that we are going to have a spirited campaign here, one that should re-install the party at the top of the political heap in this province.
As to who runs, I’m not at liberty to say who will run and who doesn’t. All I’ll say are three things:
• That this race re-energizes the party and that we see a few people both inside and outside caucus step up to run. A good leadership race can bring lots of lustre into the party, the same as a good policy announcement.
• That this race becomes more of a who’s in the race than who’s out; only having one person go for the job last time really hurt the party a little and took away from what should have been a spirited announcement.
• That I hope this leadership race does not turn into the bloodbath that the Liberal race was in 2001. At all times, the party is more than any one candidate.
In closing, I think you will have four names come forward, three in caucus already and one from outside caucus. The race is on and I wish good luck to all who come forward. I look forward to working with whoever becomes leader and premier in making the party better and the province a better place to live. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.