Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals 'very, very strong' as they head into AGM, says party president

More than 500 delegates are headed to Gander this weekend, and the premier is confident he'll remain leader.

Despite lagging behind in the polls, John Allan says party is in a good place

John Allan is the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party. (Paula Gale/CBC)

The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals says his party is in good shape, as more than 500 delegates head to Gander this weekend for the party's annual general meeting.

"We're good, we're going to have a great weekend," says John Allan, president of the N.L. Liberals.

We'll be going into Gander as a group, we'll be coming out united.- Premier Dwight Ball

Despite recent polls suggesting the Progressive Conservatives are back on top, with support for Dwight Ball seven percentage points behind new Tory leader Ches Crosbie, Allan said things are looking good.

"The premier is going to be fine, he's doing really well, we're all so proud of him and we're really pumped going into 2019," Allan told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

When asked by reporters on Tuesday how he felt about the upcoming AGM, Ball echoed those confident sentiments, saying they'll be ready for an election in the fall of 2019.

"The Liberal party will come out of Gander strong, energized and prepared for 2019, and I will be the leader of the party. Let's be very clear about that," Ball said. "We'll be going into Gander as a group, we'll be coming out united."

Allan, meanwhile, said the leadership question is a standard one that needs to be asked at every general meeting.

"The premier, he's not afraid of it. We're not afraid of it. I'm not afraid of it," he said.

"This year's AGM is around rejuvenating the energy again, getting them [the volunteers] back out rekindling relationships, getting the red wave moving again."

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball says the Liberals will come out of this weekend's annual general meeting energized for an election in the fall of 2019. (Paul Daly/Canadian Press)

Back in the black

According to Allan, the Liberals are also out of $850,000 debt, but he wouldn't release the details of their financials before the meeting, just saying "we are very, very strong."

Recent scandal about bullying within the party that saw senior ministers Dale Kirby and Eddie Joyce ousted from cabinet and caucus will also be a topic of discussion as the Liberals meet this weekend.

"The premier was very decisive and dealt with that head-on within government, and as a matter of fact at this year's AGM, the first session Saturday morning we have an anti-bullying session," Allan said.

"We take this very serious — and the premier is taking it very serious."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show