Progressive Conservative Leader Danny Williams raised the possibility of appointing a fledgling candidate to cabinet while campaigning in northern Labrador on Tuesday.
Williams returned to Torngat Mountains district on Tuesday to stump for candidate Patty Pottle, who is in a tough race against Liberal Danny Dumaresque.
"What you need is, you need Patty sitting at this cabinet table with me. That's what you need there. Exactly right," Williams said during a campaign stop in Rigolet.
The comment was the first time Williams — seeking re-election in Newfoundland and Labrador's Oct. 9 election — has raised the prospects of a cabinet seat for any candidate on the Tory team.
In later stops in Makkovik and again at a community gathering in Postville, Williams raised the issue again.
"If you give her to me as a member, then I will give some serious thought to whether I can give her back to you as a cabinet minister, and we will take it from there," Williams told supporters.
Liberal Leader Gerry Reid said Williams's comments smack of desperation, and show that hostility in Labrador about the Tories' energy plan is still rising.
"He knows he's losing Labrador and he's losing it big time," Reid said Wednesday.
"I think it's just a sign that the premier knows that he got the four seats in Labrador lost because of his ill-conceived energy plan that left Labrador out."
The governing PCs released a long-awaited energy plan before the election call, which many Labradorians have said favours island residents at the expense of their region — even with the planned Lower Churchill hydroelectric megaproject.
Williams has said the worries are not founded.
Labrador currently has one representative in cabinet: John Hickey, who is in a tough race in Lake Melville district. The Labrador party, which placed second there in 2003, is not running a candidate and is backing Liberal Chris Montague.
In Labrador West, the Labrador party is backing NDP candidate Darrel Brenton against PC incumbent Jim Baker.
Williams has made Labrador a key focus of his campaign, in part to defend the two seats the PCs hold but also to support Pottle, a Hopedale businesswoman who is making her debut in provincial politics.
Dumaresque's campaign manager is Wally Andersen, an 11-year veteran of the legislature who resigned his seat in September after being charged with fraud in a legislative spending scandal.
Despite the charges, Andersen remains popular in the district, and has been campaigning door-to-door with Dumaresque.
|Last Update:October 9, 10:58:12 PM NDT|
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