Nfld. & Labrador

No rift with Williams, Sullivan insists

Loyola Sullivan is brushing aside suggestions that discord with Premier Danny Williams prompted him to quit politics last week.

Opposition suspects discord in Tory ranks

Loyola Sullivan is brushing aside suggestions that discord with Premier Danny Williams prompted him to quit politics last week.

"I haven't had any, you know, pressures or interferences in doing my job from the premier or anybody in there," said Sullivan, who surprised Newfoundland and Labrador political circles last Friday by resigning as finance minister and representative for Ferryland district.

Loyola Sullivan says he resigned from provincial politics because he did not want to contest another election. ((CBC) )
Sullivan made similar comments on Friday, but it did little to stop speculation that Sullivan— who only weeks ago announced a record-setting annual surplus— had had a falling out with Williams, who is known for a strong will and a dominant style of governing.

"It signals to us that things are not well in the Tory caucus," Opposition leader Gerry Reid said.

"We've been hearing for some time that there's been friction between the finance minister and the premier and others, and I guess Loyola had enough of it and said that he's leaving."

Sullivan said Tuesday there are no grounds to such claims.

"I can work with anybody at all," he told CBC News. "I'm pretty independent. I go in and do my job."

Opposition leader Gerry Reid said he believes Sullivan's departure is a sign of trouble in the Progressive Conservative caucus. ((CBC) )
Sullivan said he wanted to leave before the next general election, scheduled for Oct. 9, and before the cabinet drafted its next budget, expected to be brought down in March.

Sullivan, 57,had represented Ferryland district for 14 years.

In an interview,he said he is not planning a complete retirement. While resigning on Friday, Sullivan said he had received a number of offers in recent months from the private sector.

Sullivan said on Tuesday that new offers have surfaced.

"In my mind there are some opportunities.… I've had some calls since my announcement Friday," Sullivan said. "People would like to meet with me."

Rumours have also been circulating that the federal Conservative Party of Canada would embrace a Sullivan run for Parliament.

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, a longtime friend to Sullivan, would applaud a move to federal politics.

"He'd make a tremendous federal representative, should there be an opening somewhere along the line. I certainly would encourage him," Hearn said in a recent interview.

Sullivan said he has no plans at the moment for federal politics, although he's not ruling anything out.

"If the opportunity arises and the situation presents itself, I'll take a look at it.… But it's not something I'd contemplate right now."