N.L. leaders square off in debate
Newfoundland and Labrador's political party leaders squared off for the first time in Wednesday night's leaders' debate at Confederation Building in St. John's.
Being the only debate to be attended by the three leaders, it was also their sole chance to score direct head-to-head points against the others and send a lasting message to voters.
New Democratic Leader Lorraine Michael started by pointing out she was the only party leader to attend all three debates -- the first two were held on Tuesday and were on health care and fiscal policy.
Progressive Conservative Leader and Premier Kathy Dunderdale tried early on in the debate to instill the message that her party has governed for eight solid years and that she could deliver on commitments made.
"Our track record is proven, our vision is clear, together we will continue to build a prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador," said Dunderdale.
Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward accused Dunderdale and her party of having oil on the brain and ignoring rural parts of the province.
Aylward saved perhaps his strongest message for his conclusion when he accused Kathy Dunderdale's Progressive Conservatives of abandoning the province and linking arms with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He said he could do better.
"I could no longer watch the Dunderdale, Harper Conservatives abandon the people of this province. It seems to me there are two premiers running Newfoundland and Labrador - Miss Dunderdale and Stephen Harper," said Aylward.
Dunderdale spent the night standing firm on her party's record and vision for the province.
She said people have created the success the province is experiencing and it needs to be developed further.
"As premier I will lead a team that builds on that new energy, driving our plan for more jobs, better heath care, stronger partnerships and resource development that is in the best interests of the province," said Dunderdale.
She did, however, have a feisty comment for Aylward when he challenged her on the PCs' approach to the fishery.
"Your slogan is 'we can do better,' you can hardly do worse sir," said Dunderdale.
New Democratic Leader Lorraine Michael's message was also about a new kind of energy - NDP Energy.
"When you vote in less than two weeks, you will have the choice between voting for one of two uninspired parties that have promised so much in the past and delivered so little and voting for the team that wants what you want," said Michael, in her concluding remarks.
On Thursday, all three candidates head back out on the campaign trail in the lead up to the Oct. 11 election.