Tom Marshall. — Telegram file photo
Frank Coleman may not be saying when he wants to take over as premier of the province, but Tom Marshall is ready to hand over the reigns.
For the past few years Marshall, the PC MHA for Humber East and current premier, has said he wouldn’t be leaving politics until there was steel in the ground for the new hospital in Corner Brook.
It’s something he said while Finance minister and again while holding the Natural Resources portfolio. With construction on the hospital headed to a 2015 start date it’s less likely Marshall will be around to see that steel in the ground.
On April 24 a spokesperson for Coleman told TC Media he didn’t know when he would take over until he spoke with Marshall. In an emailed statement that same day Marshall said Coleman will be premier as soon as he wants to be, but the exact timeframe hadn’t been decided.
A few days later Marshall told The Western Star in an interview that once Coleman is endorsed at the PC convention in July he assumes he’ll want to take over very soon after that.
“It could be very quickly and that’s fine,” said Marshall, adding it could be that day or there could be some kind of a transition period.
Marshall said after that he figures Coleman will want to call a byelection, but when asked said it is possible to go straight to a general election.
“It’s going to be his call and not mine, unless I call an election tomorrow,” said Marshall with a little laugh.
Either way the seat Coleman will seek is the one held by Marshall.
“He’s going to be the new premier and he’s got an interest in running in Humber East, so whatever he decides to do, I’ll accommodate him,” said Marshall.
“It’d be nice to have the new premier from Humber East.”
No matter what happens now, Marshall said the time has come to move on.
“It happened very quickly and I didn’t expect it,” he said of his being named premier after Kathy Dunderdale stepped down. “So, I didn’t have what most people who become premier have a chance to think a lot about it and say ‘well if I were premier what would I do?,’” he said.
“I’d never given that any thought. I was always comfortable with having a portfolio and worrying about that and worrying about the district.”
Still he’s enjoyed his time at the helm.
“It’s a lot of work, but I’ve always had that, and that’s never bothered me. But I’m at a stage where I’m going to come home and call in on all the open line shows,” said Marshall.
“I think what’s important for me is to find something new to do and go and devote my time to that and move on.”