There was a press conference at 2 pm today, and Frank Coleman withdrew from becoming the next (un-elected) premier of Newfoundland & Labrador. The announcement comes at the end of a month wherein national news focused on the sorry state of Newfoundland politics and the PC party.
A solid political party should have a plethora of eligible leaders, or at least enough for a proper leadership race, but a questionable series of events served up Coleman as the uncontested and un-elected PC leader. He’s suffered a lot of public critique in the department of “Frank Who?” and “What is his vision, anyway?” Coleman is also under fire for the fact the government forgave a paving company of his several million dollars in bonds pertaining to an unfinished job.
But as it turns out, it’s not public opinion that changed his mind, but, sadly, a sudden and serious medical issue in the family.
“A significant and challenging family matter has arisen over the last week that will see me unable to continue on to the convention in July, and hence unable to take the office of premier.”
Acting Premier Tom Marshall says he’ll carry on in the position until a new premier is crowned. The PC’s executive will meet Tuesday night to figure out what to do next, but it’s safe to say the leadership of our province has never been in such a situation.
Rumours are afloat that current cabinet minister Steve Kent, and former ministers Shawn Skinner and John Ottenheimer will be among the names that emerge to lead the party. Kent has confirmed with CBC’s Carol Off he is indeed interested, stating that he thinks today’s news “signals an opportunity for more people to consider their options and step up.”
Today’s news does happen to provide the PCs a chance to save their image. Kent Versus Skinner Versus Ottenheimer would provide the province and the party with the opportunity for a proper leadership race; the lack of which led to serious flack against Coleman and the party for his uncontested rise to leadership, and his uncontested rise to leadership is arguably why no one knew the man and what his agenda and visions were for the province.
Coleman will not elaborate on the exact nature of his sudden– and as some are saying, conveniently timed — family emergency.