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Remarks made by His Honour the Honourable John C. Crosbie Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador at the Administration of the Oath of Office to Premier-Designate, The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, MHA
Friday, 3 December 2010

Swearing-in of Premier-Designate The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale

The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale signs her Oath of Office as the 10th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador at a Ceremony at Government House on 3 December 2010 as His Honour looks on.

Photo used with the permission of The Telegram.

As all of you gathered here today know, and clearly all of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have heard, The Honourable Danny Williams, QC, who became ly the Premier of our Province first on the 6th of November 2003 when he and the members of his Cabinet took their Oaths of Allegiance and Office, and he became Premier and they Members of the Executive Council, having served seven years as Premier of the Province, announced his intention to resign a few days ago and recommended that Minister Kathy Dunderdale be appointed as Premier pending the outcome of a future leadership convention of the Progressive Conservative Party. I must now carry out my responsibility as Lieutenant Governor to ensure that there is a government which has the confidence of the legislature and ensure that such a government is in place at all times.

At the present time, as you all know, there is a single party which has a majority in the legislature and following recent practice in this province, as well as other provinces, I have received a letter from Mr. Clayton Forsey, the Chair of the Caucus of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, which holds that majority, indicating that the individual who has the support of Caucus for appointment as Premier is the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale. (I have received a similar recommendation from the current Cabinet.)

The former Premier, the Honourable Danny Williams, has sent to me his formal letter of resignation as Premier, and I have met with the Premier Designate the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale who advised me that she was prepared to accept the position of Premier and to lead the government.

I, therefore, have sworn in our new Premier since all the legal requirements for the appointment of a new Premier have been met.

In doing this, I have no hesitation in believing that a large majority of the citizens of this Province will support our new Premier who I am sure will receive the good wishes of every Newfoundlander and every Labradorian no matter what their partisan affiliation may be. I accordingly offer my heartiest congratulations to Premier Dunderdale.

It is my understanding from Premier Dunderdale that she wishes to continue with the present members of the Ministry who will all remain in their present ministerial positions and so will not need to take any further Oath of Allegiance or Oaths of Office this morning.

Kathy Dunderdale will be the 10th Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the first woman to hold the office since 1855 when Patrick Little became the first Premier of what was then the Colony of Newfoundland. Danny Williams was the 9th Premier and the 28th man to hold the office since 1855 and now Premier Dunderdale becomes the first woman to hold this office in our Province. She will become the Queen’s First Minister in the Province because she has the support of the majority, in this instance a very large majority, of the men and women chosen by their fellow citizens to be members of the House of Assembly.

We now have three women leading the three parties elected to our House of Assembly, Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones and NDP Leader Lorraine Michaels with our Premier.

As my predecessor Ed Roberts pointed out on November 6th, 2003, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Our head of state is the Queen of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II. I am acting here today as her representative in this Province. The Oath which I administered today was taken in her name. As a result of that Oath, Kathy Dunderdale is now the Queen‘s First Minister, the Premier, of Newfoundland and Labrador and her Cabinet colleagues are the Queen’s Ministers which is the monarchical principal of our Canadian Constitution which stands along side the democratic principal.

Since we are “a free and democratic society”, in the words of the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we are governed by men and women whom we choose in free and democratic elections. Responsible government and the constitutional monarchy are the threads which bind together our system of government and have served Newfoundland and Labrador both as a dominion and now a province, and served Canada, well.

As my predecessor pointed out, the Queen, the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors alike all act on the advice of their Ministers who are responsible to elected legislatures. Our new Premier, Kathy Dunderdale, becomes the Queen’s First Minister in this Province because she has the support of the majority of the men and women who have been chosen by their fellow citizens to be Members of the House of Assembly.

I look forward with enthusiasm to working with her and her colleagues.

On a personal note, as you may know I have been involved myself in public life in this Province and in Canada for 28 years and I have known all of Kathy Dunderdale’s predecessors as Premiers of this Province, since 1949, from J.R. Smallwood onward. Great challenges always confront our Premiers and their colleagues, but our Premier and her colleagues are taking office at a time when the Province, as our Minister of Finance reported on December 1st, is governing with a modest projected surplus of $12.3 million for the current fiscal year, rather than a deficit of 194.3 million dollars as previously forecast. We are enjoying a time of solid economic growth. Provincial revenues are now anticipated for this fiscal year to be $303.2 million dollars over original projections, including an additional $65 million dollar increase in oil royalties. The gross domestic product of our Province is expected to lead the Country in growth this year, the latest estimate being a growth of 5.4 percent due to increased oil and mineral production as well as investments in major industrial projects.

Nevertheless, great challenges will confront our Premier and her colleagues who are being affirmed in office today.

As you all know, politicians are not always greatly admired but I confess that I have always admired and respected the men and women who submit themselves to the judgment of their fellow citizens and run for office. While politicians are not always greatly admired, it certainly seems obvious that our former Premier Danny Williams is greatly admired by the citizens of this Province and throughout the country. We all wish him well in his continuing career in business or whatever area he chooses to participate in.

Clearly Shakespeare was not expressing the views of most of the citizens of this province when he wrote in King Lear in 1606 the following:

“Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the thing thou dost not.”

Neither do I nor most of you, apparently, agree with John Gay who, in 1738, wrote the following:

“That politician tops his part
Who readily can lie with art
The man’s proficient in his trade;
His pow’r strong, his fortunes made”

What I recommend to all my listeners is that politicians follow the advice of Socrates who wrote in 340 BC that,

“The good of man must be the end of the science of politics.”

I end by endorsing a statement made by the late Martin Luther King who pointed out,

“Our lives begin to end
The day we become silent
About things that matter!”

To our new Premier, you are an heir to a very old and proud tradition which I know you will honour and cherish as did those who have gone before you. I also feel sure that every Newfoundlander and Labradorian joins me in wishing you much success in the coming months.


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