‘ You can’t deny we had a good premier’
“He’ll do an exceptional job if he decides to go that route,” Drover stated.
Here’s what other leaders in the region had to say:
• Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade
Slade was “shocked” by the announcement, but said there were signs the premier was preparing to move on.
“He did say one of his main ambitions was to reach a deal to develop the Lower Churchill,” an agreement which was signed recently.
Then there was the premier’s heart condition, which required surgery last year. “ Your health comes No. 1,” Slade said. Though he is a life-long Liberal supporter, Slade acknowledged that Williams did a lot for the province, and pointed to the fact the premier — who made millions as a successful lawyer and businessman — did not collect a salary, but instead donated it to charity.
“It wasn’t about money for him,” Slade said. “He put a lot back into his province. It’s unfortunate that he is going.”
Like Drover, Slade seemed to delight in the possibility of having Jerome Kennedy as the next premier.
“ This could be something really big for Carbonear,” Slade commented.
• Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs
When Williams entered politics a decade ago, Coombs remembers asking the new leader of the PC Party why he would make such a move, considering his wealth and success in business and law.
Coombs clearly recalls the answer: “If I don’t do it now, there’ll be nothing there for the kids and their future.”
The premier should be remembered in glowing terms for what he has accomplished, Coombs noted.
“He was like a dog with a bone; he grabbed it and ran with it. He’s going to be hard to replace.
Coombs said he has no regrets about supporting the premier and voting for him, and said he will follow with great interest the political landscape as it unfolds over the coming months. He suggested there are quality people in the provincial cabinet and caucus who can lead the province, and like others, he made special mention of Jerome Kennedy.
“ I don’t know what ( Kennedy’s) political future holds, but it’s going to be interesting,” Coombs noted.
• Victoria Mayor Art Burke
Burke called Williams’ departure a “sad day for province,” and said he was disappointed with the news.
Like Slade, Burke is also a long-time Liberal, but noted, “ you have to give Danny his due.”
“ You can’t deny we had a good premier, who fought hard and got things going. What he has done for our province has certainly put our province on the map and moved us ahead. He did a lot of good things for the province, and left it in good financial shape.”
Burke feels the Lower Churchill deal will be his legacy, and feels the recent agreement to develop Muskrat Falls gave Williams the confidence to pack it in.
Burke sees Williams’ departure as “a great opportunity for ( Jerome Kennedy) to step in there and make it known if he is interested in taking over the leadership.”
The mayor said Williams helped groom Kennedy for the top job, and noted, “ he has everything going for him if that should happen. • Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore Moore said the province has lost a “ true champion” who worked very hard for the province.
“I feel his commitment has come from his own deep love of the province, and as he said, he loved what he was doing, and I think that is the reason he gave so much to it.
“ In his seven years, he has changed the whole scope and look of the province. I feel that he has brought us from one of the poorest and least respected provinces to one know whose name represents prosperity and is a real role model for others to look up to.”
Moore said she met the premier on several occasions, and was always impressed with his demeanor.
“He had to be busy, but he never ever made you feel that way. He always took the time to listen and show interest in what you were discussing. He’ll be missed and I wish him all the best in the future.”
• Bay Roberts Mayor Glenn Littlejohn
“I was shocked and didn’t see it coming,” Littlejohn stated Friday, but quickly added that considering the list of accomplishments the premier has checked off over the years, he wasn’t entirely surprised.
Littlejohn was a PC candidate in the district of Port de Grave in 2007, losing by several hundred votes to incumbent Roland Butler. There’s widespread speculation that Littlejohn will take another stab at the seat, but he wasn’t giving anything away last week.
“Everyone will reflect on where they are at this point. With him resigning, the landscape will be different, and we’ll all take time to reflect and see where it all falls,” he said.
Littlejohn said he will make a decision early in 2011.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams ponders a thought as he gives his farewell speech from politics on Thursday, Nov. 25.