Williams fires back at Crosbie over Tory criticism

James
James McLeod
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Former premier Danny Williams says he wasn’t pulling any strings behind the scenes in the PC party leadership, no matter what John Crosbie might think.
In fact, Williams said he even encouraged Crosbie’s son, Ches Crosbie, to run for the top job.

Danny Williams

“First of all, I can’t understand why John Crosbie is coming at me, to be quite honest with you,” Williams said. “He’s come to me on the sealers fund and other funds, and I’ve contributed — personally and otherwise — to these funds. So I don’t understand the reason for what he’s doing here.”

On Saturday at a celebration of the life and work of Newfoundland political satirist Ray Guy, Crosbie read from a 1969 column and compared the politics of the Joey Smallwood era to the current state of play.

VIDEO: Crosbie's comments during Ray Day

Crosbie said he was dismayed by the fact that not a single member of the PC caucus or cabinet ran for the leadership, and that premier-designate Frank Coleman will take office without ever winning any sort of democratic process.

Crosbie said he believes that Danny Williams was pulling the strings behind the scenes to make it happen.

But Williams said he was taken aback when he read the comments in the newspaper, because he always felt that he had a pretty good relationship with Crosbie.

“When John was in Government House, John came to me looking for a half-million dollars for an elevator because he didn’t want to walk up over the stairs to the second floor, and after time we put it in,” Williams said. “Out of respect, I put that in place.”

But when she heard the comment about the elevator, Crosbie’s granddaughter, Megan Alexander, took to Twitter to stick up for him.

She posted a picture of herself in a cast and crutches standing next to Crosbie, and she wrote, “(Government House), a gov building, was rightly made handicap accessible after I couldn’t safely get up the stairs.”

She said the elevator wasn’t for him — or for her, specifically — but the stairs are very narrow and her situation made it clear that the building wasn’t accessible to people with disabilities.

More broadly, Crosbie’s point about the PC Party was that without a competitive leadership race, it’s nearly impossible for the party to renew itself.

But Williams batted back on that point too.

“When I ran for the leadership, nobody else ran against me. Not because I went out and strong-armed them not to, they just decided that it was going to be uncontested,” he said. “I did the same thing and that worked out OK, I think.”

Williams acknowledged that he publicly criticized Tory leadership challenger Bill Barry — who withdrew from the race in April, saying “the fix was in” — but apart from Barry, Williams said he encouraged all of the cabinet ministers, MHAs and outsiders who talked to him about running for the job.

That includes Ches Crosbie, who Williams said came up to his office and talked about a possible run.

The Telegram was not able to reach Ches Crosbie for comment.

Williams said once he gets past a bit of a rocky start, he thinks Coleman will do well.

“It’s important that we have good people stepping up for politics, but when you’ve got to leave yourself open to this kind of abuse from a former politician who doesn’t have the facts correct, it’s really sad,” he said. “I’ve got to tell you, Mr. Coleman is an outstanding individual. He’s got great credentials in business. He’s a wonderful family man, he’s a good speaker, and he’s just a very, very good person.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Tory, PC Party

Geographic location: Government House, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    June 04, 2014 - 19:56

    Williams thinks he can buy whoever he wants.

  • Can't take its anymore
    June 04, 2014 - 08:09

    First of all, I'm not crack about Danny Williams, If you wanted to know the truth about Bill Barry for running and leaving the leadership race. I can tell you right now, its had nothing to do with Danny, Do interview with Bill Barry, after all he said he open and transparent and so call honest. Bill was in the race, for the wrong agenda.

  • anonymoose
    June 04, 2014 - 06:30

    I just don't believe that the PC party can renew itself without especially strong leadership. The Liberals are gonna get it next time, b'ys, if you keep playing your game like this. (Although in my mind the Liberals were probably gonna get it anyway...)

  • Glenn Stockley
    June 03, 2014 - 22:57

    this is so funny….the two biggest ego maniacs in the history of NL politics having at it…maybe john is upset because danny got the job he always coveted…as for government house….an even bigger waste of money than i realized…regardless of who the occupant is…..

  • Ed.Coady
    June 03, 2014 - 15:13

    danny williams was an egomaniac before politics and when he became premier without any opposition his ego went through the roof , he is also a bit of a dictator as some of his ministers who resigned from his cabinet would attest to if they had the spine to do so,he is still riding that high from being the all powerfull one,but he is still showing his childish and petty side when anyone speaks ill off or against him.

  • Ed.Coady
    June 03, 2014 - 15:12

    danny williams was an egomaniac before politics and when he became premier without any opposition his ego went through the roof , he is also a bit of a dictator as some of his ministers who resigned from his cabinet would attest to if they had the spine to do so,he is still riding that high from being the all powerfull one,but he is still showing his childish and petty side when anyone speaks ill off or against him.

  • Cyril Rogers
    June 03, 2014 - 14:10

    The air of entitlement that permeates the PC Party is evident in Mr. Williams' words and in his attitude. It has filtered down into all of the party elite and is one more reason why they are so out of touch with ordinary realities. Sadly, this attitude is not far removed from the other parties either, and I see no hope of fundamental change unless somebody is bold enough, courageous enough, and self-sacrificing enough to bring about the changes that will allow the people to recall and terminate ugly regimes like the current one……..one that is driving the economy into the ultimate fiscal nightmare with Muskrat Falls, and its inability to think and plan long term.

  • Too Funny
    June 03, 2014 - 10:39

    “Out of respect, I put that in place.” Er, no you didn't, it was us taxpayers that put that in. “When I ran for the leadership, nobody else ran against me." You didn't put yourself forward until it was obvious that the Liberals were going to lose. And wasn't Ed Byrne leader of the party until you came to take his ball.

    • Corporate Psycho
      June 04, 2014 - 20:03

      Interesting how Ed Byrne ended up. Wasn't he the most popular PC at that time? Very interesting.

  • Little Man Dan
    June 03, 2014 - 10:09

    On a go forward basis, this is my final warning! I'll sue anyone who dares to think for themselves; I pick the premiers and I still run this place.

  • Little Man Dan
    June 03, 2014 - 09:35

    On a go forward basis, this is my final warning; I'll sue the lot of ya if you think anything differently than I do. I still run this place; got it?

  • Showdown
    June 03, 2014 - 09:09

    And for years, many people said Crosbie is the only person in the province who is a big enough political heavyweight stand up to Williams. Seeing the two of them finally face-off is kind of fun, in that Godzilla-versus-King Kong sort of way!

  • FINTIP
    June 03, 2014 - 08:45

    Williams in the left corner wearing blue trunks; Crosbie in the right wearing even bluer trunks. The fight's on and already we're seeing the low blows. Crosbie threw the first punch by calling Williams a puppet master - the reincarnation of his own personal nemesis Joe Smallwood. Williams says 'ya, well if I'm such an SOB, why would I spend a half-million so you could go to bed at night? And didn't I contribute to that sealer's monument with your own name on it?' Crosbie laughs off the blows. It's hard to knock a metaphorical old swiler down. But then comes the lowest blow. Crosbie's own son Ches, having ostensibly toyed with the idea of running for the leadership and having had what he probably thought was a private word with the ex-premier, is unceremoniously dragged into the fray. 'Didn't I accept to meet your own son? Didn't I grace him with my very presence? Didn't I give him the same encouragement I gave all the other people who wanted to mess up a good coronation?' Again Crosbie laughs it off. But in truth the last blow has him bent over the ropes asking Jane for the white towel. 'Maybe, thinks Crosbie, I shouldn't have made so much about leaders and premiers needing to come from cabinet or at least caucus to have any chance at running a province.' The irony is that - had Ches run for the leadership - he'd probably have won. Even Barry, who put his foot in the bucket the first day out, is now rueing his decision to back out. Hell, I think I might have even had a shot. But as Crosbie himself says, it's all about 'carpe diem'. Politics is no place for wallflowers. You have to be ready to seize the day. And because only one did - or at least only one held onto it - the party now faces the worst possible outcome. A new leader with that ever-present dark cloud over his head that has long since made Newfoundland the Li'l Abner of Canadian politics.

  • D. Maria Paul
    June 03, 2014 - 07:44

    Aren't they all cut from the same piece of pork belly? Listening to them attack each other, for attention, is a classic example of their narcissism.

  • Joe Scanlon
    June 03, 2014 - 07:32

    Frank Coleman was exceptional when I knew him as a grade 7 student. Everyone who knows anything about him says he is still exceptional. I think Danny Williams is correct when he says that he will be a good premier after a possibly rocky start, which is understandable. I guess the problem is, for those who don't know about Frank, the party looks weak by not having a contest. That was the case with Danny Williams and that sure worked out

  • Maurice E. Adams
    June 03, 2014 - 06:47

    "...they just decided that it was going to be uncontested".... Who is "they"? Clearly, potential candidates do not get together and decide that the so-called race will be "uncontested". It is the party leadership ---- and who might that be I wonder? I would suggest that perhaps Mr. Coleman did not "step forward" as much as pushed forward.... and pushed by whom? And why?

  • John Q Public
    June 03, 2014 - 05:37

    Danny said... “He’s come to me on the sealers fund and other funds, and I’ve contributed — personally and otherwise — to these funds. So I don’t understand the reason for what he’s doing here.” That sums it all up from Danny's perspective. What it says is that just because Danny contributed to initiatives that Crosby supported, that means that Crosby should not be critical of Danny! In other words, Danny is saying, if I give money to your cause then I OWN you! Because I give money to your cause then you cannot be critical of me in public. Amazing!!!!!!!

  • Susan
    June 03, 2014 - 05:22

    Mr Williams there is old song, ( I do my Crying in the rain ), Sir you had your day, Now please go away, Thank you kindly.

  • W Bagg
    June 03, 2014 - 05:20

    Very petty. Wow, you put an elevator in a govt building. SO Crosby should shut up, I threw him some loot. The immaturity and vindictivness of the man knows no bounds

  • Sam
    June 03, 2014 - 04:38

    The bottom line here is Crosbie got it right and despite all of Danny's financial contributions, you can't buy everything.