PC leadership contender Paul Davis gets on the ground in Labrador
© Photo by Bonnie Learning/The Labradorian
PC party leadership contender Paul Davis (far left) chats with Happy Valley-Goose Bay residents (second, from left) Hayley Brunger, Patrick Gaudreau and Joe Arsenault while visiting the Lake Melville area this week. Davis is one of the three contenders for the party leadership, which will be decided at the PC convention next month in St. John’s.
From a career in policing that lasted 25 years, to municipal politics, to numerous boards, committees and executives, it seems there is nothing Paul Davis won’t take on.
And with time winding down until the PC party’s leadership convention, Davis — one of three contenders for the party’s top job, along with candidates John Ottenheimer and Steve Kent — tackled his first visit to Labrador in the campaign to become leader and premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“A lot of people are really excited about this race,” Davis told The Labradorian today.
“It’s an exciting time for politics in our province.”
Davis arrived in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Sunday, ahead of tonight’s delegate selection meeting taking place at the Masonic Lodge.
“We’ve had great numbers turn out for these meetings in other districts around the province,” said Davis.
“One district meeting had over 200 people attend. It’s very encouraging to know so many people are supporting this party and this leadership race.”
Delegation selection meetings have already taken place in the districts of Cartwright-L’anse au Clair and Labrador West.
These meetings determine who will be attending the leadership convention from each of the 48 districts, in order to cast their votes for the next leader of the PC party.
Davis said the time “wasn’t right” the first time the call for names went out to run for the leadership, but after the resignation of former contender Frank Coleman, he decided to throw his hat in the ring.
“People who know me well said they knew I was going (to enter the race),” said Davis.
“I like taking an active roll, be a part of the process. I was an observer at the time (Kathy Dunderdale) resigned. But (after the second call for nominations for leader), I couldn’t be an observer any longer — I was never one to sit back and let circumstances roll.”
Since being in the Lake Melville district, Davis said he has spoken to many residents about concerns they have, both on a personal and regional level.
“Muskrat Falls is a big one, of course,” he said. “It’s going to provide long-term economic stability for this area for generations to come.”
Other areas important to all areas of Labrador, said Davis, includes better transportation systems and delivery — both highways and marine service; improvements in health care; continued resource development; and employment and economic opportunities.
Listening to the people
Davis believes there are two key components in seeing things improve across the board in Labrador, and the province as a whole.
“When I announced I was running on July 2, there were two key principles I said I would employ — listening to the people, including valued interaction, and consulting.
“We, as a government, need to do more of that.”
Davis said that also holds true for sitting MHA’s who occupy the backbenches of the House of Assembly.
“We have 48 districts in the province that send a person they believe can best represent their needs and lobby and advocate on their behalf, to the legislature.
“But those who sit on the backbenches are not always utilized to their full potential. They bring their own unique background, experiences, and education — as well as the respect of those who elected them. We need to use those resources as well.”
Davis added he is also all about teamwork, no matter what field he has found himself in over the years.
“Whether it was with my time with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, or as part of an executive committee or organization I was involved in, it’s all about being a part of a team.
“I believe a team approach in government is the best approach.”
The delegation selection meeting for the District of Lake Melville takes place tonight (Monday, Aug. 11) at the Masonic Lodge in Happy Valley-Goose Bay at 7 p.m. Doors will be locked at 8 p.m. for voting. The general public is welcome to attend.