Timing could be right for Bill Barry to become a politician

Gary Kean
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Bill Barry

CORNER BROOK  In the last 25 years, Bill Barry was approached several times by both the Liberal and the Progressive Conservative parties to run for office under their respective banners.

The time was never right for the Corner Brook businessman who has grown his family’s fishing business into an international entity that employs more than 3,000 popular in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Confident his own children are now ready to take up the running of their family’s huge fishing enterprise, this just might be the right time for Barry to throw his hat into the political ring.

With the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale and the reality newly appointed Premier Tom Marshall will only be in that role until a new PC party leader is chosen, Barry said he is seriously considering a run for the Tory leadership.

“The only reason I would consider it is completely on the basis that I think I might be able to contribute something to a province that has given so much to me,” Barry told The Western Star in an interview Friday morning.

Barry said he will be taking this weekend to think about it and will let his intentions be known next week. Broadcast media in the province are reporting he will confirm his intentions to run during a Wednesday announcement.

Barry said he has always considered public life, but never followed through because the timing was never right before.

His priorities had always been growing his large family and his business.

“These things are not things that you just step away from, not knowing how secure and how safe they are,” he said.

With four of his sons and a daughter heavily involved in the family’s fishing business, Barry is finding fewer reasons to say he can’t leave the fishery for a life in politics.

“I don’t have those inhibitions on me now,” said the 61-year-old. “Five years ago, I couldn’t give it that consideration.”

In the past few days, Barry said he has received numerous emails and calls from all across the province, encouraging him to run. The prospect of becoming the Tory leader and, subsequently, the province’s 12th premier until the next election is called is not something he takes lightly.

“It’s obviously an extremely serious commitment for me,” said Barry. “What it really means to me is the rest of my best years, if I was fortunate enough to ever get the job, would be committed to the province.”

While he said it is both flattering and humbling to hear so many people urging him to take up the life of a politician, Barry said the choice comes down to a personal decision because he won’t have a go at politics apologetically.

“If I do it, I will do it with a stick in each hand,” he said with a laugh. “I won’t be easy-goesy at it.”

If he decides to run, Barry said he will do so with every intention of making “a real contribution for real change” in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s a compelling journey for me at the age of 61,” he said of the idea of aspiring to become the province’s leader.


*** Edited Sunday, Jan. 26 ***

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, Western Star

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Recent comments

  • Murphy
    June 23, 2014 - 08:36

    out spoken is not a flaw but that doesn't necessarily mean arrogant. We need outspoken for our province. Informed on issues and willingness to put in the time to be familiar and to "talk the talk" is crucial. Be open to opinions, able to debate/discuss but at the end of the day a decision has to be made and Barry can do that. The PC Party still has the right to government for the remaining year or so. Their leader has the right to fall into that position. I would like to see more than the party get to vote. We have that time to like what he does or toss him out. I do like his "cards on the table" attitude. You either like his attributes or you don't. I like knowing he has the ability to stand up for Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Concerned
    January 31, 2014 - 14:16

    This guy makes Kathy's arrogance look humble. He's elitist, crude and ignorant.

  • SayWhat
    January 28, 2014 - 09:52

    Bill Barry is a reflection of what Newfoundland and Labrador has become..old. On Friday past we witnessed the swearing in of our oldest first time Premier. Should Barry win the leadership. become elected, he would be our oldest first time elected Premier. Prior to last Friday, Kathy Dunderdale was our oldest first time sworn in premier at 58. We are now encountering our 11th premier since Confederation and when you look at it, Smallwood has become one of our youngest first time sworn in premiers at 48. here's something to think about, the median swearing in age of our last three premiers is approximately 59. The median swearing in age of our first three premiers was 41. Should Bill Barry win, the median age of swearing in the last three premiers will exceed 60.

  • Annoyed
    January 28, 2014 - 05:02

    Does anyone find it funny that people are being dismissive of Bill Barry because of the disintegration of religion in schools when I have not heard a single person complain about it...well since the 90s. Continue to grab on to small, useless points of banter that helps you folks sleep at night. This man has my vote.

  • Howard George
    January 27, 2014 - 13:45

    It is interesting to see Bill Barry come forward to be the next saviour of our province. Yes, this man is a good businessman but business and having a social conscience is not the same. He would have hearkened the province to keep church rule over education based on his religious convictions despite the high cost to taxpayers for duplication of services. Yes, he employs many NLers but how many did he help put out of business and work building his empire. My earliest recollection of Mr. Barry was at an economic development conference held in St. John's more than 30 years ago. These words of his still resonate with me " Our economic woes in NL began when our politicians realized they could buy votes with promises and finance them with deficiects. I wonder what promises he will make now he is considering joining the political ranks. I suspect he will get a dose of reality when he stops his usual pontification descends his present throne and has to tackle the real issues facing NL and NLers. Will be also interested in seeing the " two stick" approach he mentioned in a recent interview fitting in what should be a team approach.

  • Ambrose
    January 26, 2014 - 13:15

    People read the article in the telegram title ( Dunderdale Devotees Deserve Decimation ) Its under the most read. Read the comment by Charles Murphy, Ask yourself one question, was its right for the liberals to say no to this man. Its seem he don't mind taking on hard issue . In my book that leadership material,

  • Johnny
    January 26, 2014 - 12:14

    Good lord... Just what we need is someone else who made their money off the backs of NL and might think now they have all the answers. Only reinforces my ABC commitment.

  • Linda
    January 26, 2014 - 11:16

    @ Paul Hunt, Give me a break. What make you think he a smart man? It like saying Dwight Ball is a smart man.. Liberal got a store keeper, Now the PC's could be getting Fish harvester...But that don't make either one of them Qualify to run the province, Just more burden put on the people..And we're going to find out the hard way..

  • Ivy Anthony
    January 25, 2014 - 12:17

    I think that it is time for new blood in this province, not a bunch or businessmen as been the pre-requisite of the Tory government for the past number of years. Bill Barry has grown his business but maybe you need to speak with some of his former employees to see how they are faring.

  • Paul Hunt
    January 24, 2014 - 20:49

    The best man for the job. Anybody who can successfully build an empire in the fishing industry while competing against cheap labour in China could continue to lead us in the right direction. He is a proven quantity. He has my support. Not good news for Liberals:)

  • Skeptical Cynic
    January 24, 2014 - 19:58

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn’t this the same individual who, back in the 1990s, wrote the pope requesting “His Eminence” intervene in abolition of the NL denominational school system, and when that didn’t pan out he removed his children from the public schools rather than allow them to attend a secular system? If this is indeed the case, one would think such extremist... indeed, rather bizarre... actions alone would indicate unsuitability for leadership of a supposedly enlightened, tolerant, and multi-cultural democracy. And now this individual actually thinks he has what it takes to become premier of a province where the majority of the population is comprised of us "heathens"? Like I said, bizarre...

  • Crazy
    January 24, 2014 - 16:35

    LOL.. Really Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at it best, If you think things were hard before, Put this man in, then look out. Its bad enough we got Ball head of the liberals party.

  • Ross Strickland
    January 24, 2014 - 16:19

    Bill Barry would be a good choice. He is similar to Danny Williams in that he is smart and he is a proven successful businessman. The only way the conservatives can be successful in the next election is to elect a leader outside of the present government members. Many of the present conservative members are retiring so with some new faces and with a New Leader the conservatives would stand a good chance to win the next election...otherwise they are toast. Waiting now for the Liberal red book to see their policy, they better move fast because there could be an election before this year is up and and Bill could be over the finish line before the Liberals wake up. Isn't Newfoundland politics exciting!!

  • Johnny b goode
    January 24, 2014 - 14:38

    Heaven help us all if Bill Barry became premier.... The province will regress in time to the days of the fish merchant and the poor Newfoundlander... Those that have and those that don't.

    • kent
      February 05, 2014 - 20:35

      I got news for you pal... It already has.

    • kent
      February 05, 2014 - 20:37

      I got news for you pal... It already has.

    • kent
      February 05, 2014 - 20:41

      I got news for you pal... It already has.

  • Mary
    January 24, 2014 - 14:15

    Bill Barry is Anti union. Public workers beware!!!!!! Not the right choice for Nfld.Too right wing. Another HARPERITE...

  • Trinity Brown
    January 24, 2014 - 13:42

    I don't know what's worse for this province; a lawyer who thinks he is a businessman or a business man who thinks he's a lawyer.

    • gord
      January 25, 2014 - 22:04

      "Trinity Brown" That has to be the best comment I've ever read on this site or others. Good one and it makes sense!

    • what's worse
      January 26, 2014 - 09:12

      What is worse is a pharmacist turned liberal leader!

  • Mike
    January 24, 2014 - 13:09

    Beware Mr. Barry of being lured onto a sinking ship. The current PC caucus is in for a rude awakening in the next general election. Since Dunderdale took over, everyone sitting behind her, supported her. Those that didn't left politics, or left the party. Dunderdale's stepping down does not change the fcat that each of the current members of caucus were complicit in her decisions. Now is not the right time, sir. Let the next election go by, the Liberals will sweep in, wait four years and then gauge the political climate.

  • Robert
    January 24, 2014 - 13:04

    I've seen what this man is capable of first hand as an employee. God help this province if this man gets elected premier. He's already been repsonsible for crippling much of outport Newfoundland single handedly. Fox in the hen house would be childs play with what this man is capable of.

  • Just Do it....
    January 24, 2014 - 11:08

    You will be premier by the summer if you say yes, early next week.

  • Yes Please Run
    January 24, 2014 - 10:14

    The Province desperately needs new thinking. Please run and if elected fire everyone in cabinet and get one of your own elected because the fools who are there now will only drag you down Bill!