Kathy Dunderdale needs to look at future, ex-ministers say

Two former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers say Premier Kathy Dunderdale needs to ask herself tough questions about her future and role as party leader.

Shawn Skinner, Paul Oram says premier must decide her role well before 2015 campaign

Two former Tory ministers raise questions on leadership, reports David Cochrane 2:41

Two former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers say Premier Kathy Dunderdale needs to ask herself tough questions about her future and role as party leader.

Shawn Skinner and Paul Oram both say numerous months of bad public opinion results and two losses in recent byelections cannot be ignored.

On Tuesday night, when the Liberals reclaimed Carbonear-Harbour Grace — the seat formerly held by Jerome Kennedy, who quit as finance minister to return to private life — Oram tweeted, "Enough is enough."

Speaking Thursday with CBC News, Oram said he is not calling for a resignation, but for things to change.

"I'm not out here today, neither was I the other night, suggesting that Kathy Dunderdale should step down right away," said Oram, a former health minister who represented Terra Nova district between 2003 and 2009.

"She's got to look at every possible option here [including] what is the best option for Newfoundland and Labrador," he said. "But I think people are looking for some change here in terms of the way we're doing things."

'Need to reflect'

Shawn Skinner, a former natural resources minister and MHA for St. John's Centre, said he remains a supporter of Dunderdale, but acknowledges recent circumstances make it necessary for the premier to think about whether she wants to lead the party into the next provincial election.

"I think the premier does need to reflect, there's no doubt that about," Skinner said during a taping for Saturday's edition of On Point with David Cochrane.

Former cabinet minister Shawn Skinner said he still supports Kathy Dunderdale as PC leader, but acknowledges she may want to think about her future. (CBC )
"I think others will reflect ... The party is bigger than any one person, so we want to make sure that the party is ready for the election in 2015."

Skinner said he is confident the Tories, who swept to power in 2003, can win a fourth consecutive term, although he admitted that there may be a change at the top.

"I have no doubt that we will be positioned very strongly in 2015," Skinner said. "Where the premier is on that, whether she steps aside, whether she doesn't - that will become clear in the coming months.

"But I think it's something that she's going to have to look at."

The Tories have been trailing both the Liberals and the NDP, with Dunderdale's personal popularity well behind her competitors. As well, an Angus Reid poll released in September found that Dunderdale ranked last in popularity among Canada's premiers.

Consecutive tracking polls by Corporate Research Associates have also shown that the Tories are well behind the Liberals and NDP.

At a Progressive Conservative fundraiser last week, Dunderdale told supporters that the government will not usher in policies for the sake of wooing voters.

"When you start running government like you're running a popularity contest, which we did far too long in this province, and sometimes far too long in this country, then we get our people in trouble," she said.


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