I was asked by a national publication on Nov. 25th, the day Premier Danny Williams resigned, to gather reaction from here on the ground in Newfoundland and Labrador. The publication did not publish the reaction, so I’m posting it here.
“All those years of saying we have to thank Ottawa for this and that made us feel as if we exchanged one colonial master for another. Danny Williams’ greatest contribution, in my opinion, was destroying once and for all the Uncle Ottawa syndrome. He succeeded in making us feel proud of ourselves.”
— James McGrath, former lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and one-time federal PC cabinet minister.
“One good thing about Danny going is we’ll get rid of the unhealthy occult political following that he’s had.”
— Bill Rowe, call-in radio show host and author of the 2010 book, Danny Williams: The War with Ottawa.
“He wasn’t a demigod. He wasn’t a savior. He was a tough guy who was obviously successful in business and who knew his way around the political world. Sometimes you have to piss people off to get stuff done.”
— Andy Wells, chair and CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board.
“I’ve been listening to Open Line all day and there’s not only love for Danny Williams but a sense that we’re nothing without him. That bothers me. The sad thing is we don’t only need a leader who knows what to do, but one who raises the confidence of the people.”
— Pam Pardy Ghent, a journalist/commentator who was recently removed from her voluntary position on a government advisory board for making a Fackbook joke about the premier’s private parts.
“He was the political landscape.”
— Acting Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Leader Kelvin Parsons’ response to the question of how the political landscape will change with Williams’ resignation.
“If we were PCs we’d recruit (General) Rick Hillier.”
— A suggestion made by Memorial University political science students after their professor asked them to strategize on Williams’ resignation.
“There are no Rick Hilliers that we’re aware of.”
— Political science professor Alex Marland’s response.
“Danny Williams will go down as a folk hero in Newfoundland. It may be 30 or 40 years before his destiny is really defined.”
— Sam Synyard, mayor of Marystown.
“Danny Williams’ resignation leaves us in a position in Newfoundland and Labrador where there will be much more of a free and open debate about what’s going on here. My experience over the past seven years is that if Danny says it, it must be the truth and it must be good. The next premier will not be afforded the same pass. There will be healthier debate.”
— Former Liberal premier Roger Grimes.