Nfld. & Labrador

Swift reaction to Premier Williams's departure

Reaction to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams's decision to leave politics is coming quickly from federal and provincial politicians across the country.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams announced his resignation from politics on Thursday. (CBC)

Reaction to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams's decision to leave politics is coming quickly from federal and provincial politicians across the country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a news release on the decision by Williams to step down.

"Premier Williams has been a dominating force in Newfoundland and Labrador politics since becoming leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001," he said.

"A tireless champion for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Williams accomplished a great deal in his seven years as premier."

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, who was with Williams last week when the two provinces signed a deal to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador, spoke highly of him.

"He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Nova Scotia in both the campaign for fairness on the offshore resources deal with Ottawa and of course on the Lower Churchill agreement, so certainly for us he has been a profound friend," said Dexter.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest arrives at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Thursday morning. Williams 'had very fixed opinions,' he said, 'but I also have no doubt that he sincerely tried to serve the people of his province.' ((CBC))

Quebec's premier gave a diplomatic response when asked about Williams's decision.

"He had very fixed opinions, but I also have no doubt that he sincerely tried to serve the people of his province. He has been an extraordinary leader for the province," said Premier Jean Charest in Paris, on Thursday.

"I know that in Newfoundland and Labrador, there are strong opinions with regard to Hydro-Québec. There are historical reasons."

Williams, who was elected premier in 2003, was praised by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"I want to wish my colleague and friend Danny Williams all the best on his retirement from public life," said McGuinty.

"Through our work together over the years, I have come to know and admire Danny's passion, pride and persistence. Danny simply did not quit. He has worked hard not only to achieve his own success, but to help all Newfoundlanders find opportunity."

Newfoundland and Labrador Opposition Liberal Party Leader Yvonne Jones also issued a release about Williams's retirement.

"The premier has given a tremendous part of his life and energy to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially over the past 10 years," said Jones.

"I want to recognize his contribution and thank him for his commitment and dedication to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and wish him good health and success in the future."

The federal Liberal Party leader also praised the out-going premier.

"Williams has represented the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with steadfast dedication and a political energy that will be remembered for generations to come," said Michael Ignatieff.

"Williams promoted the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with a tenacity unmatched in Canadian politics."

now