Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams launched a re-election campaign on Monday with a promise to make his province wealthy enough to aid other provinces.
'People are going to look at the value that they've got from this government,' Danny Williams said as he left Government House in St. John's.
"We're off and running," Williams said as he left Government House in St. John's after Lt.-Gov. Ed Roberts dissolved the legislature and dropped a writ for an Oct. 9 election.
"People are going to look at the value that they've got from this government," said Williams, the Progressive Conservative party leader, adding that "pride" will be a theme of his campaign.
"This is about our place in history, our place in [the] federation, where we are and where we're going, and Newfoundland and Labrador ultimately being self-reliant and a contributor to the federation of Canada."
Williams's first major campaign event will be a suppertime launch at Corner Brook's Pepsi Centre.
The Opposition Liberals have already hit the ground running, with the release Sunday of a platform that asks voters to think beyond the short-term prosperity that oil wealth will bring.
Williams heads into the three-week campaign with a commanding lead in the polls and coming off a string of high-profile energy announcements, particularly a resolution to a long-running dispute over development of the Hebron oil megaproject.
A Corporate Research Associates poll released this month shows the Progressive Conservatives have 76 per cent support among decided voters.
Liberal Leader Gerry Reid launched his campaign platform on a fishing vessel arriving at St. John's harbour. He said the platform demonstrated the Liberals' commitment to rural communities.
The Liberal campaign bus leaves Confederation Building on Monday.
"Very little has been done about the fishery," said Reid, citing plant closures and a strike he blamed on "poor government policy [that] just about brought the fishery to its knees."
Reid reminded voters that oil revenues will be finite.
"Long after the oil and gas is gone, we will have to depend on the fishery," Reid said.
The Liberals, who were thrown out of government in 2003, have a steep road ahead of them to hold back the PCs. As the campaign starts, the Liberals have to find candidates in 15 of the province's 48 districts.
"That's a possibility when you see where the premier is in the polls — there's obviously some people reconsidering whether or not they're going to run," Reid said.
"But we've had a couple of very decent candidates come forward over the last few days."
Reid toured St. John's briefly in a campaign bus before heading to Conception Bay, and districts where the Liberals have a strong chance of victory.
NDP says other parties 'let down' residents
Meanwhile, New Democratic Party leader Lorraine Michael — flanked by six of the party's 16 candidates with nominations in place — blasted other parties for not doing enough for ordinary people.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael launched her campaign Monday with door-to-door canvassing in the St. John's area.
"Both the Tories and the Liberals have let down people in this province," Michael said.
"And the people in the province deserve much, much better."
Michael holds the NDP's only seat in the legislature. At dissolution, the PCs had 34 seats, while the Liberals held 11. There were two vacancies.
The Liberals' platform document includes elements that the party has already highlighted in a bid to attract middle- and working-class families, including lower taxes and reduced fees.
The Liberals also say they would create a prosperity fund to manage the province's offshore wealth. However, the platform does not say whether a Liberal government would seek an equity stake in future oil and gas projects.
Williams announced in August that his government has acquired a 4.9 per cent ownership stake in Hebron. Last week, Williams said the province has purchased a five per cent stake in pending expansion of the White Rose field.
A long-awaited energy blueprint announced last week says the province will seek a 10 per cent equity stake in all future oil and gas projects.
|Last Update:October 9, 10:58:12 PM NDT|
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