Today is going to be a interesting day on the local political scene.
Decisions made today about seeking the leadership of the political party that governs our province and regarding the candidacy to fly the party banner in the upcoming Virginia Waters by-election, should act as a litmus test for the fortunes of the Conservative Party.
Question One: Will Frank Coleman announce he is seeking to replace Kathy Dunderdale as leader of the Conservative Party and become Premier?
Rumors have been rampant on Twitter, on political blogs, at the Duke and amongst political reporters that the Corner Brook businessman is not going to run.
If that is the case it means that the Conservatives have to scramble to find someone else to take on Bill Barry. There is very little interest from the cabinet.
The Isles of Notre Dame, MHA Progressive Derrick Dally appears to be taking a wait and see approach. The Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry
and Agrifoods offered up a lackluster performance in the fisheries portfolio and is not my idea of a dynamic and charismatic leader.
Shawn Skinner, a capable former Minister of Natural Resources has been collecting signatures for his nomination papers. Skinner was the only cabinet minister to loose his seat as an MHA in the last election. He also has said he will not seek the nomination in Virginia Waters. One would think that if he really had what it takes to lead the party and hold onto fortress St. John's he would welcome the opportunity to get back into the caucus. I think he is shrewd enough to know he can not win that seat. Will he run for leader?
35 year-old Steve Kent has also been preparing his nomination papers. The two time mayor of Mount Pearl, two term MHA for Mount Pearl and current Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs could be the dark horse.
In 1999, he was named one of Maclean's Magazine's Top
100 Canadians to Watch in the Next Century.
building a career and performing in the role of a senior elected official he
completed a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and earned a Master’s
Degree in Management.
Often underestimated, but never defeated, the astute politician has the experience, the education and the drive to lead the party.
For those that keep saying he is too young, lets not forget that Brian Peckford became premier at 36. Kent will turn 36 on May 7th, a few months before the Tory leadership convention. Bernard Lord became Premier of New Brunswick when he was just 33.
Question #2: Will Danny Breen announce that he is prepared to challenge Cathy Bennett in Virginia Waters. There are many divided opinions on this. Some say if Coleman is in, he will run. Others say he is not going. If he does not go who will?
One thing is for certain, the 300 workers who attended the Liberal rally at the Holiday Inn last night feel the wind is in their sails.
The most interesting bit of gossip, the potential return of former Premier Danny Williams. Could he seek both the leadership and the PC nomination in Virginia Waters? I would not be betting my house on it but you have to admit it sure would make things pretty interesting!