Aylward patches things up with St. John's
Party leader Kevin Aylward has been able persuade the mayor of St. John's that Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberals do not have an agenda against the capital city.
Aylward met Wednesday with Mayor Dennis O'Keefe and councillors at City Hall, a week after candidate Danny Dumaresque told a St. John's Board of Trade debate there was little chance of the city persuading a Liberal government to resolve a long-standing grievance over revenue.
"There are a hell of a lot more priorities outside the overpass that need to be addressed before we start forking more money over to the City of St. John's," said Dumaresque, who was tapped to represent the Liberal party at the forum.
O'Keefe told CBC News he was pleased with what he heard from Aylward during their meeting.
"Mr. Aylward has certainly clarified the fact that the statements made by Mr. Dumaresque are Mr. Dumaresque's opinion, not the opinion of the Liberal leader nor are they the policy of the Liberal party," O'Keefe said.
The City of St. John's has asked the provincial parties to consider a new tax regime, in which the city would receive at least $20 million to pay for municipal infrastructure at provincially-owned buildings and institutions, including hospitals and government offices.
Aylward said the Liberals are certainly open for talking.
"I believe fully that we should move forward with consideration of the fiscal framework that the City of St. John's is interested in moving forward on, and building a relationship on," said Aylward.
Dumaresque's comments ignited a sharp debate in St. John's, with at least two Liberal candidates in the city distancing themselves from Dumaresque.
At a debate in Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi on Tuesday night, Liberal candidate Drew Brown slammed what he called an "idiotic comment by an idiotic man."
Aylward stepped in to stop the infighting.
"The comments made by Mr. Brown were personal and not acceptable to me," Aylward said. "Our candidates should … have cordiality towards each other."
When asked who he would endorse for the election, O'Keefe, who has been affiliated with the PCs over the years, said he would work with all future MHAs.