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article imageKathy Dunderdale resigns as NL premier

By Scott Sawitz     Jan 22, 2014 in Politics
Newfoundland - Kathy Dunderdale is stepping down as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador after facing continuing pressure from her Progressive Conservative party colleagues.
She is simultaneously resigning her leadership of the Tories, which will come into effect from Friday.
Dunderdale, 61, was the provinces’ first female premier and served for two-and-a-half years
“Ancient Hebrew scriptures teach us that there's a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens," Dunderdale said Wednesday at Confederation Building in St. John's.
"I have discovered that this also applies to public service. Just as you know when it's time to step up, you also know when it is time to step back, and that time for me is now."
The decision follows several months of poor performances in public opinion and the loss of two of her party members to the Opposition Liberals.
On Monday, one of her closest supporters, Paul Lane, crossed the floor of the legislature, citing Dunderdale’s mishandling of a series of electricity failures in the province. That came a year after former cabinet minister Tom Osborne also defected.
In a seven-minute address to reporters, Dunderdale laid out her achievements as premier.
“On every scale, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are better off today than when we started,” she said to a round of applause. She then went on to list a series of achievements in health care, crime reduction and the region’s economy. That includes a boost in sales for a drugstore online operating in Newfoundland.
Finance Minister Tom Marshall will take over her role as interim premier.
"This was her decision. This wasn't a caucus decision," Marshall said. "She left as she served: with dignity and with grace."
Dunderdale first entered public service in 2003 as a Member of the House Assembly (MHA) for Virginia Waters. She became leader of the Progressive Conservatives in 2010 after the resignation of her predecessor, Danny Williams. She went on to win October 2011’s general election, securing a majority government in the process.
Her decision means that new elections for the provincial legislature will have to be held within a year, before the end of the current assembly term in October 2015.
Meanwhile, Dunderdale will continue to serve as MHA for Virginia Waters.
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