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Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams gives an interview at his St. John's office on Nov. 13, 2009. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams gives an interview at his St. John's office on Nov. 13, 2009. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)


Flashpoints and milestones in Danny Williams's political career Add to ...

Who is Danny Williams?

Danny Williams addresses supporters after his landslide victory and increased majority in the Oct. 9, 2007 provincial election in St. John's.

Danny Williams was born in 1950 and is a self-made millionaire who founded and later sold cable-television company Cable Atlantic for $230-million. His post-secondary education includes a Rhodes scholarship. He studied law at Oxford University in England and at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

His father was a lawyer and his mother a Tory who volunteered for former prime minister John Diefenbaker. Mr. Williams spent time with his parents handing out campaign pamphlets. He and his wife, Maureen, have four children.

Mr. Williams was acclaimed as Progressive Conservative Party Leader in January, 2001. His successful campaign in 2003 to become premier was run on a platform to run the province more like a business. In those first days, he promised to focus on his province's relationship with Ottawa.

Political beginnings, flashpoints and milestones

Danny Williams at the Toronto Economic Club with then premiers from left: John Hamm of Nova Scotia and Pat Binns of Prince Edward Island, Nov. 17, 2004

April, 2001: Elected party leader of the Progressive Conservatives.

October, 2003: Mr. Williams wins his first term with 58.71 per cent of the popular vote

December, 2004 to January, 2005: The now-infamous flag flap, when Mr. Williams fought with Paul Martin over promises by the then-prime minister to give the province royalties from offshore oil developments. Mr. Williams had all Canadian flags from provincial government buildings removed. Weeks later, after much publicity and his personal popularity rising, flags started flying once again in the province. Weeks later, a revised Atlantic Accord was signed.

March, 2006: Makes an appearance on Larry King Live, where Mr. Williams squares off against Sir Paul McCartney in defence of his province's three-century-old practice of hunting seals each spring. "The seal pup makes a great photo op," Mr. Williams said.

2006: A scandal hits the province, as it is revealed that excessive expense claims were filed by Newfoundland politicians, including former cabinet ministers to the tune of $4.4-million. In the wake of the scandal, Mr. Williams shuffles his cabinet while other politicians, including Ed Byrne, step down.

Oct. 9, 2007: Mr. Williams wins second term with 69 per cent of the popular vote.

Aug. 21, 2007: Mr. Williams signed deal for the Hebron offshore oil field with several major oil companies. The agreement sacrificed royalty rates in exchange for the province's ability to acquire a 4.9-per-cent equity stake in the project. The deal is signed a year later in August, 2008

The infamous ROB Magazine cover depicting Newfoundland-Labrador Premier, Danny Williams, as

2007: The oil industry gives him the nickname "Danny Chavez," a reference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Pemier is also making other moves in different industries, moving to seize the Newfoundland hydro assets and timber-cutting rights of paper giant AbitibiBowater Inc.

October, 2008: Now clashing with Stephen Harper, Mr. Williams takes on the federal Conservative government with his "Anyone But Conservative" campaign. He calls the Tory Prime Minister "intolerant" and predicts a "dark age" if the Conservatives get a majority.

August, 2009: Mr. Williams told the Globe's Gordon Pitts: "It looks like I'm going to have to go another term. I've got unfinished business. I've got the Lower Churchill power project which has to be done, and that isn't going to happen overnight."

Feb. 4, 2010: Mr. Williams travels to Miami to repair a heart valve. His decision to seek treatment in the United States triggered much debate about public-private health care on both sides of the border.

Feb. 26, 2010: At the Vancouver Olympics, his first public appearance since the opertaion, he jokes: "If I collapse up here, please drag me to Seattle - because the Canadian Medical Association won't have anything to do with me."

November, 2010: Mr. Williams and his government sign a $6.2-billion deal to develop Labrador hydroelectric power. Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia celebrate the start of the long-delayed development of the Lower Churchill hydro project.

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