Nfld. & Labrador

No apologies on putting Tory in electoral office: Williams

Premier Danny Williams is brushing off criticism that he hand-picked a partisan Tory into the top spot at the Newfoundland and Labrador electoral office

Premier Danny Williams is brushing off criticism that he hand-picked a partisan Tory for the top spot at the Newfoundland and Labrador electoral office.

The Opposition Liberals have been trying to delay the appointment of Paul Reynolds as chief electoral officer, although it's likely that the governing Progressive Conservatives will use their majority in the house of assembly to push it through.

That hasn't stopped Liberal Leader Gerry Reid from attacking the choice of Reynolds, a former provincial PC party president.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous," Reid told reporters Monday. "Let's face it— Paul Reynolds is a political animal."

Reid said he does not understand how Paul Reynolds can run the entire provincial election, when he wouldn't even qualify to work at a polling station.

"Right now, if you want to be just a district returning officer— in a district like Twillingate— you have to have been away from any political party, of any political activities for at least 60 days," Reid said.

"Mr. Reynolds, when his name came forward, was still a director of the PC party in this province."

Until his appointment, Reynolds had been on the executive of Virginia Waters district.

Williams, though, sees nothing wrong with Reynolds's political experience.

"Mr. Reynolds has a history of public service— as a mayor, as a councillor. [He has] been involved as a volunteer, been involved in the private sector," Williams said.

"You know, he's a good candidate."

Reynolds is best known in the public eye as the mayor of the small town of Wedgewood Park, which was amalgamated with St. John's in 1992.

Reynolds was chosen after Chuck Furey— a former Liberal cabinet minister whom Williams recruited in 2006— announced his resignation.

Until Furey, the job of chief electoral officer was traditionally held by a non-partisan appointee from the senior civil service.