Premier designate visits Springdale
The man who will be Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador when he takes over leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in July says there was a time when he was asked to go for the province’s top job under a Liberal banner.
© Rudy Norman
Premier-designate, Frank Coleman, was in Springdale this week meeting with locals and discussing issues leading up to his taking over of the governing PC Party. Here, he and MHA Kevin Pollard chat with people at the Green Bay Community Employment Corporation offices.
Frank Coleman was in Springdale on Thursday, to meet with locals, and attend a PC Party District Association luncheon.
“You know, a couple years ago I was actually approached and asked if I would run for the leadership of the Liberal party,” he told party faithful at the luncheon. “But I didn’t want to be part of the madness.”
Coleman then countered some of the comments made by Liberal Leader, Dwight Ball, at a Liberal fundraiser in St. John’s earlier this week.
“I listened to (Dwight Ball) when he gave his speech the other night at the $500 dollar a plate dinner,” he told the Nor’wester following his remarks. “He talked about focusing on health care as a way to reduce the deficit.”
Coleman says this year’s deficit is going to be in the order of $500 million, and hopes that Ball and the Liberals don’t feel all that money can come from health care.
“If he says he’s going to save $500 million by reorganizing programs in health care, that means to me that what he’s going to do is affect the sick and the elderly and spread that misery to that group of people while he’s trying build healthy lifestyles.”
According to Coleman, some of Ball’s plans come up short in what the province needs – especially when it comes to promoting healthy living in the province.
“You don’t achieve healthy living by building walking trails,” he said. “That can’t work. That has got to fail. What will work is to continue to build this economy and to continue to invest in health care like the facility the PC government is putting here in this town.”
He’s referring to the new Green Bay Health Facility; $2 million dollars was earmarked in the recent provincial budget for design work.
Coleman says its comments like Ball’s speech at the Liberal fundraiser that makes him not regret his decision to not run for the Liberals when he was asked.
“When I heard his comments, I said to myself, ‘You know that madness is coming back again,’ that madness of an austerity and trying to cut social programs – social justice programs, poverty reduction programs,” he said. “They’re trying to improve the delivery of the health care system, is the word they use, but … that to me is code for ‘cutting’. I’m not interested in that. I’m not interested in destroying and spreading the misery to the elderly. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Coleman wouldn’t divulge who asked him to run for the leadership, but says he feels it was much more than a passing interest.
“It was certainly someone very high profile and influential in the party,” he said.