Premier Kathy Dunderdale is out of the province, but her director of communications issued a statement on MHA Paul Lane’s decision to leave the Tories today for the provincial Liberal party.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and MHA Paul Lane appear before media in St. John's today. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
"Mr. Lane didn’t express any discontent with leadership or the direction of the party before his announcement today, including when he accepted a promotion on Oct. 9," Dunderdale said in the emailed statement. "Mr. Lane had ample opportunity to voice his concerns surrounding leadership and direction of the party to me. He did not."
Dunderdale is reportedly in Florida on vacation, but her director of communications said she will be back in the province "in the coming days" and will comment on the situation then.
Mount Pearl MHA Paul Lane said the January blackouts were "the last straw."
Lane announced he’s abandoning the PC Party at Smitty’s restaurant in Mount Pearl this morning and is joining the provincial Liberal party.
In a lengthy speech to media and constituents, he said his decision was heavily influenced by the Tories’ inability to support seniors and people with low incomes amid the current oil boom.
He also defended his vote in favour of Bill 29, but said that the amendments to the province’s access to information legislation went too far.
He said based on conversations with constituents, he feels people have lost faith in the Progressive Conservative government.
But he said that it was the January blackouts that really put him over the edge. He said while he was going door-to-door to help constituents, Premier Kathy Dunderdale was missing in action.
Liberal leader Dwight Ball welcomed him to the fold immediately.
"We certainly welcome Paul as a member of the official opposition," Ball said.
Lane has a reputation as a political bruiser and a fierce partisan.
He said that his top priority is the people of his district.