Felix Collins wel­comes life out­side of cab­i­net

The Compass - - EDUCATION - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH MACDON­ALD

Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins says he now has time to fo­cus on get­ting things done in his dis­trict now that he’s no longer a mem­ber of Pre­mier Kathy Dun­derdale’s cab­i­net.

Dun­derdale an­nounced a cab­i­net shuf­fle on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 9.

Collins had been Min­is­ter of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal and Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs, and be­fore that, held the jus­tice port­fo­lio.

Collins said he was pre­pared for this, and had, in fact, pre­vi­ously told the pre­mier he was ready to step back from cab­i­net.

“I had three years in cab­i­net and at this stage in my life and my ca­reer… I wanted to slow it down and get more flex­i­bil­ity and sta­bil­ity in my life,” said Collins. “I’ve got a huge dis­trict to run and the chal­lenge of be­ing a cab­i­net min­is­ter on top of run­ning the dis­trict is a big one. Be­ing a cab­i­net min­is­ter is de­mand­ing, is a to­tal com­mit­ment and is all-con­sum­ing.”

He said the pre­mier, at that time, asked him to take the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal and Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs port­fo­lio, which he did, with the un­der­stand­ing he would be leav­ing cab­i­net and re­vert­ing back to his role as an MHA some­time within the year.

“The dilemma I was con­tem­plat­ing was try­ing to find the right time to re­sign or step away this fall, so the shuf­fle is in per­fect har­mony with my sched­ule. The shuf­fle came up and gives me the op­por­tu­nity to step away from cab­i­net and just fo­cus on my MHA role and at this stage in my life, that’s all I re­ally want,” he said.

Plus, he said, it’s a good op­por­tu­nity for the pre­mier to shake things up a bit.

“With my go­ing and Jerome Kennedy go­ing and Tom Hed­der­son go­ing, she is able to bring new peo­ple into the cab­i­net and re­ju­ve­nate it. Th­ese are peo­ple who are full of en­thu­si­asm and vigor and tal­ent and hard work and they want to make their own mark and it’s great to see them come in.”

He said now he can fo­cus on the dis­trict and the things he’s planned to get done be­fore his term is up.

“(Peo­ple) feel that when they are rep­re­sented by a min­is­ter, they get more in­flu­ence but the min­is­ter’s role takes your at­ten­tion away from your dis­trict in a sense be­cause you have to fo­cus on the whole prov­ince. So, now I can just re­lax a lit­tle bit, work for the dis­trict and I look for­ward to it.”

Collins said he’s proud of the work he’s done on get­ting a new lift bridge for Pla­cen­tia, help­ing to push high speed In­ter­net for places like Point Lance and Branch, and is sure more good news is to come in the dis­trict.

He’s also pleased to have played a part in the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in the past num­ber of years.

“It has been a tremen­dous hon­our, a tremen­dous priv­i­lege to serve this

Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins

prov­ince as a min­is­ter of the Crown and I had the op­por­tu­nity to do that for four years, and you know, this gov­ern­ment has brought the prov­ince to a dif­fer­ent place than where it was in 2003. I am glad to have had the op­por- tu­nity to be part of that for four years and I am grate­ful for that.”

Felix Collins was a teacher and prin­ci­pal in the Pla­cen­tia area and was a su­per­in­ten­dent of ed­u­ca­tion un­til he re­tired in 1992. He then went to law school, was called to the New­found­land Bar in 1996, and prac­ticed law in St. John’s un­til 2007. He served as mayor of Pla­cen­tia for 16 years, and was on coun­cil for 19 years.

In 2006, he was elected to the House of As­sem­bly in a by­elec­tion, and was sub­se­quently re-elected in 2007 and 2011.

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