Dunderdale pushing away: Williams
Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams won't be fighting federal Conservatives this election as he tussles with the new leadership of his provincial Tory party.
Williams is skipping his own tribute dinner next weekend, saying his hand-picked successor Premier Kathy Dunderdale has shunned him.
The dinner to celebrate Williams' legacy was to coincide with Dunderdale's coronation as Progressive Conservative party leader.
"I think it's very clear that the premier and her staff have felt that it's appropriate to distance themself from me," he told reporters Sunday at an event to launch a photo book of his often combative life in politics.
"And if that's the case, so be it. That's her right as premier of the province," he said.
"From my own perspective, whether it's a PC government or a Liberal government, I will always feel passionately about the issues that are important to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. And I will always be concerned about them."
A request for comment from Dunderdale was not immediately answered. She appeared visibly upset Thursday as she told reporters she was shocked and disappointed that Williams won't attend a tribute he'd helped plan for months.
On the federal front, Williams said Conservatives have no need to fear a repeat of the wrath that sunk Tory hopes in the province during the last national election.
"I certainly won't be participating in an ABC campaign," he said. "I'm not the premier anymore, so why would I?"
Williams' Anything But Conservative campaign in 2008 helped to shut the Stephen Harper team out of all seven federal seats in the province.
The former premier accused Harper of breaking a promise to protect offshore oil revenues from equalization clawbacks.
Williams stepped down as premier Dec. 3, 2010, after 10 years in politics to resume his business career.
He said he may offer election analysis.
"I've been asked to do some national commentaries for several of the national media. That may be my role, but I haven't even really decided yet if I will have a role."
Williams wanted to stress that the rift within his own party has nothing to do with a recent flap over government attempts to name his former communications director, Elizabeth Matthews, to the offshore oil regulator.
Matthews withdrew as a candidate for vice-chairperson of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board as opposition and environmental critics slammed her appointment as patronage. The six-year term would have paid up to just over $195,000 a year.
Dunderdale kept a relatively low profile as her minister of natural resources defended the move.