Felix Collins welcomes life outside of cabinet
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.