In­ter­est­ing days ahead, says Babb

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

No date has been set for a lead­er­ship con­ven­tion to choose a suc­ces­sor to Danny Wil­liams, who will va­cate the premier’s chair this week.

Whomever suc­ceeds the out­go­ing PC leader will also serve as premier at least un­til Oct. 11, 2011, when the prov­ince’s elec­torate go to the polls to elect a new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The man who will help de­cide that fate­ful date told The Com­pass the con­ven­tion will likely be held in the early spring of 2011.

Car­bon­ear lawyer John Babb was re-elected dur­ing the PC party’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing Oct. 12 for an­other two-year term as party pres­i­dent, a post he has held since 2003.

Babb stated the race is “go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing.”

Whomever the new leader is, Babb said, “it’s busi­ness as usual for the party and there is still a lot of work to be done. The party is strong and well-po­si­tioned in ev­ery way for the next elec­tion, ” he added.

Ad­mit­ting there was an “el­e­ment of sur­prise” even for the party pres­i­dent in the time Wil­liams chose to bow out, Babb said, “ but know­ing the man like I do, this was class all the way – it was a classy move.”

Al­though he has been a long-time party sup­porter, Babb first jumped into the po­lit­i­cal arena in 2003, when he car­ried his party’s colours un­suc­cess­fully in the Car­bon­ear district in Wil­liams’ first elec­tion.

He re­calls Wil­liams made it easy for him to en­ter pol­i­tics at the time: “I be­lieved in what he was about and I be­lieved in the same things he be­lieved in.”

While the his­tory books will de­ter­mine his legacy, Babb said he be­lieves Wil­liams will go down in the his­tory of New­found­land and Labrador “as one of the best, if not the best lead­ers we ever had. They don’t come along like him that of­ten.”

Above all else, Babb feels the out­go­ing premier’s legacy is “ the new op­ti­mism that has gripped this prov­ince. We’re New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans now, and we’re not tak­ing a back­seat to any­one else any­more.”

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