Barry promises to be straight shooter

Gary
Gary Kean
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CORNER BROOK  Referring to the province as “Newfoundland Inc.,” Bill Barry says the most important issue facing the province is generating cash flow and controlling expenditures.

The Corner Brook businessman, who announced his bid for leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservative party Wednesday, said Newfoundland and Labrador could use someone like him at the helm to help ensure the province takes the right path to the future.

Barry made his formal announcement to a supportive crowd that filled the Greenwood Inn and Suites ballroom.

He entered the room to the sounds of “Revolution” by The Beatles blaring over the speakers and finished to the same song and a standing ovation from his supporters.

“This is the business of Newfoundland Inc. and who are the shareholders? The taxpayers are the shareholders,” Barry said in a media scrum after the press conference.

“Whoever is elected, we are responsible to operate in the best interest of our shareholders, who are our taxpayers. It’s really that simple.”

On either side of the hotel ballroom, Barry had posters that contained the words “democracy, transparency, accountability, humility.” At the bottom of the poster was a “29” with a red stroke through it, symbolizing Barry’s disdain for Bill 29, the new privacy legislation instituted by the current provincial government.

During his speech to the crowd, Barry referred to the privacy legislation as “the most undemocratic thing I have seen in my life.” He said there are obviously some things that cannot be public knowledge, but said this legislation gives government too much control over what people are allowed to know.

“There has never been a time in my lifetime that I have seen so many people across the island that say ‘we just don’t know what’s happening, we want to know more and every time we try to find out more, somebody tells us it’s not available,’” he said. “That’s just not good enough.”

Barry made references to the public’s questioning of major government initiatives like the Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project and the $110-million loan government has committed to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

He said they could possibly be great plans, but he and many others still have questions about the finer details and the benefits for the people of the province who are footing the bills.

“What I don’t know now, I’m going to know and, when I know, the people are going to know,” said Barry. “That’s important to me, or I wouldn’t be running.”

Barry said he will divest his fishing empire, the Barry Group Inc., should he be successful in winning the PC leadership. He has no idea how much support he has from within the current PC caucus.

Running for office is something Barry has contemplated for years. He was approached by the Liberal party years ago and even contemplated running for the current Liberal party when it held a leadership race last fall.

At Wednesday’s press conference, he referred to himself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal with a bit of environmental “green” in him. After, he told the media he felt the Tories have the better team in office right now in terms of his chances of becoming premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“My view ... was the talent pool I could best pick from to run a good government, they were there in the Tory party and they needed a bit of Bill Barry, or somebody like me,” he said. “They needed a bit of good leadership.”

Barry is an outspoken person and said his family and friends have urged him to tone it down if he is to become a politician. He said that won’t happen and that it was important for him to continue speaking his mind on any issue that comes up.

That unapologetic attitude, he added, is something that was fostered in him during his 40 years around the fishery and the tough times he has seen people endure.

“I don’t want to be unreal for anybody,” he said. “If you ask me a question, I’m going to give you a straight answer ... It’s kind of hard for me to turn mellow yellow now. It’s just not in me.”

Barry said he has not given any thought yet to where he would run for a seat in the legislature should he win the Tory leadership race, which is expected to be decided in about four months from now.

Organizations: Newfoundland, Greenwood Inn, The Beatles Tory Barry Group Inc.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook

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  • We all want to change the world
    January 30, 2014 - 14:38

    Give the boy some slack. Experienced businessman, but rookie "politician". Some candid amateur observations..... (1) Newfoundland Inc. ?? Actually NL-Inc.?? thanks to Liberal Roger's constitutional legacy. Would NL_Inc sell real property to raise capital? - it is not what he meant!? (2) "Inc's" are limited liability entities... some go deeply in debt. threaten "Chapter 11", get "taxpayers" to bail out literal "shareholders' " equity then give multi-million dollar bonuses to the CEO's. (3) another successful businessman in the 1970's suggested 200,000 citizens leave (with or without "shares") Nfld. to make Nfld.Inc. sustainable. Much less than 60% of Canadians born in NL live in the Province today. One half million here in 1970, nine Premiers later - still 1/2 Mil.? Good luck!! But he has a point! The CASH part of a nation or people has to operate on the same principles that govern global finance.... CASH is a big part of Currency? Reign in the Oil Patch kitchen party before NL suffers "Till Debt Do Us Part -II"? [How did that Canadian flag get here anyway?] One of the candidate's predecessors (JRS) said the three or four jobs of a politician is to get elected, get elected, get elected. He doesn't have to apologize for electioneeringl..... all the hard work, vision and talent of a candidate is of no value without victory. Maybe he might get some value out of these comments (or not) .... as he quipped today that ".... even stupid people have good ideas sometime...." - and a broken clock is accurate twice a day... If it is not what you mean - don't say it! You are not in the board room now! At least he has the boldness and courage to try.

  • Richard
    January 30, 2014 - 14:06

    Bill the only thing worse than Bill 29 is talking about us doing another power deal with Quebec. You are dead before your campaign gets off the ground.

  • Bert
    January 30, 2014 - 13:31

    I thought Bill Barry wanted us to elect him as leader of NL. After listening for two minutes, I went from maybe to maybe not. Maybe he should team up with Danny Dum. and move to Quebec. No future in politics for you Bill here in Newfoundland let alone Newfoundland and Labrador!!!

  • Hebei Jeebees
    January 30, 2014 - 13:24

    Where did I here that were going to run government like a business before? Now, we find out that our provincial debt has doubled, even with all our oil revenues. Watch now how our government handles this issue with Alderon if you want to see how our provincial government currently runs and can be buckled over by big business. This will be comparable to the Abitti expropriation, a government acting with out thinking. I feel there has been some syngeries between Alderon and Nalcor already, weather it be by consultants or the same lobbyist' s. A prime example is how they got the mayors of the cities/towns to basically come out a speak for them. This isn't the provinces problem. Alderon must of not had all their ducks in a row. They should have been on top of this, such a big project, this should have been the first thing they should have been considering. Now they trying to rush government with ultimatum's and time lines because of their business practices. And where did they get the idea that Taxpayers would pay almost half a billion dollars for this power line. I suggest that the company cut some bonuses to board of directors. I wonder if when Danny was Premier, what would he have said if some company, that he wasn't affiliated, made such a request to government? I'll say one thing that I think! The current elected PC government members aren't calling the shots or running our province, its the people behind the scenes.

  • Keith
    January 30, 2014 - 11:51

    Mr. Barry, after seeing your record in this Province and what you have done to fisherman out of greed for your companies, I would not trust you to do the right thing for the people of this Province if you were the only one running. Your record of your greed to promote you companies is well know to us.

  • watcher
    January 30, 2014 - 10:13

    how many people in that gathering were barry employes just wandering

  • Corner Brook resident
    January 30, 2014 - 09:12

    haha,, You obviously have never met him before in your life then. That's unfortunate for you! He has my Vote! Not to mention every other person who knows him. I cannot think of another man who genuinely wants the best for this province. Himself and his 9 Kids all live in NL , and none of them every plan to leave this place, because of their love for it. He wants to make sure this place has a future, for his kids, their kids, your kids, their kids, their kids, everyone's kids, and their kids, kids.. and so on and so forth.. If you want the same thing and no change.. don't vote for him.

    • Gary
      January 30, 2014 - 14:41

      His kids live here?! THIS is the reasoning of a Barry supporter? Uck!

  • nabat paqtism
    January 30, 2014 - 08:43

    Seems like the sculpins are coming out from under the warves after the bait money ear marked for the fisheries

  • Roy Whalen
    January 30, 2014 - 08:22

    I was a straight shooter once, and promised the town higher taxes and better management. I also said that the town should be run like a business. I was beaten 5 to 1 by the guy that promised no tax increases, in spite of the fact that taxes have risen every year for the past 10 years. Don't forget John Noseworthy, probably the best educated person to ever stand for office, beaten by an unemployed filmmaker . I KNOW you are correct but the masses want to hear BS...Good Luck RW

  • Robert Fisher
    January 30, 2014 - 07:52

    Irony in the headline... Bill Barry has never been a "striaght shooter" in his life. This is the same man that's been single handedly responsible for crippling outport Newfoundland... buying up plants all over the place just to shut them down and close them up. Now he wants to represent the thousands and thousands of people whom he's taken their livelihoods from? We're expected to hand the keys over to the fox and declaire the hen house open for business? Don't think so Barry!

  • Charlie
    January 30, 2014 - 07:08

    Mr. Barry needs to quickly realize the name of the province is Newfoundland AND Labrador not just Newfoundland. Rookie mistake.

  • Stephenville Guy
    January 30, 2014 - 06:39

    After viewing the conference last night on the news I am some concerns. First when Mr. Barry refers to the Province as a big business. Yes it is a business however the Government is also there to provide a service and not always breakeven in doing so, my fear would be that Mr. Barry can not see the difference. Also as a side note when referring to the Province it is Newfoundland and Labrador not just Newfoundland.