His campaign launch speech was filled with a lot of information about his family and business history, and even a bit about the province. But it wasn‚Äôt until after the applause ended that Frank Coleman answered the questions about the things people wanted to know.
His campaign launch speech was filled with a lot of information about his family and business history, and even a bit about the province.
But it wasn‚Äôt until after the applause ended that Frank Coleman answered the questions about the things that people want to know.
Why does he want to run now, for instance?
Coleman said running for politics is something he‚Äôs been considering for four or five years and he has been approached numerous times by both the PCs and Liberals.
‚ÄúI believe in this party.‚ÄĚ
With the party declining in the polls, Coleman was asked why he wants the job now.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs a great reason to do it,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI believe in what this party has accomplished. Where we‚Äôve come from and where we currently are is amazing.
‚ÄúLook, we‚Äôve got some work to do, but I can‚Äôt think of a better group to be associated with than the group that put us where we are.‚ÄĚ
Coleman is not alone in his desire to lead the party and, ultimately, the province. Two other contenders, Corner Brook businessman Bill Barry and Howley councillor Wayne Bennett, are also running.
Coleman and Barry have been friends for years. The relationship is close enough that Coleman is a godfather to one of Barry‚Äôs children.
Coleman said he told Barry he was thinking about running when his friend announced his candidacy.
‚ÄúI have a lot of respect for Bill‚Äôs talents in business. He is a very capable man, but this is about me today.‚ÄĚ
Coleman also noted that he doesn‚Äôt know Bennett.
The leadership convention
There‚Äôs been some discussion of late around how the July 4 and 5 leadership convention will unfold, especially in terms of how delegates will be selected and what the voting process will be like.
Barry has said in a public letter that he won‚Äôt be running slates of candidates, and encouraged his competition to leave the decision on delegate selection to a true democratic process.
Coleman said when the three of them signed on as candidates there was a specific formula laid out by the PC party and the organizing committee for the leadership that follows a constitutional requirement that delegates get picked in the district.
‚ÄúThis really ... is about me getting into those districts and trying to earn the support of those delegates.‚ÄĚ
He said it‚Äôs not about trying to change the rules and he doesn‚Äôt think he can control the process of who votes for him.
Once selected by the districts, Coleman said delegates can vote however they feel.
‚ÄúI can try to persuade people that I‚Äôm the right guy.‚ÄĚ
Lack of political background
To a question on not having political experience Coleman replied:‚Äą‚ÄúYou know, when I had my first child I had no background being a dad either. I can get through that.‚ÄĚ
Coleman said he now has to outline a platform, attract people and encourage people to vote for him first at the convention and then later in a general election.
‚ÄúThis is about leadership and I think I‚Äôm qualified for that role. And I think the politics side, learning the ins and outs of the House and the day to day running of the House of Assembly and government is something I can learn.
‚ÄúLeadership is the key issue.‚ÄĚ
Running the province
Coleman said there is a need to keep up the momentum the province has experienced as of late.
‚ÄúThe economy has done well and we want to keep this going.‚ÄĚ
He said key issues for him include investment in infrastructure, education and health.
‚ÄúWhen we are doing that, to remain fiscally prudent and not to forget elements of society that require our help,‚ÄĚ he said.
In terms of health care a big issue for this region is the new hospital for Corner Brook and the time it‚Äôs taking to be built.
When asked his position on the hospital, Coleman said: ‚ÄúIt should be built right away.‚ÄĚ
Coleman has also been known to support denominational education and responded to questions about bringing that system back and reversing the amalgamation of the province‚Äôs school boards into one: ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt make a comment about that. It‚Äôs something I‚Äôm not as familiar with. In due time I‚Äôll get in, get behind the facts, understand it a little better.‚ÄĚ
If he wins the leadership, Coleman indicated he would seek a seat in the legislature within a reasonable time after the convention, with Humber East being the obvious choice. That seat is currently held by Premier Tom Marshall, who has already said he won‚Äôt run in the next general election.