Daniel "Danny" Williams QC MHA (born August 4 1950 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) is a Canadian businessman and politician. He is currently the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 1969, Williams was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and went to Oxford University, earning a Degree in Arts in Law and playing for the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club. He then earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Williams practised law from 1972, becoming a financially successful lawyer, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1984. While still in law school, Williams led a consortium of businesspeople that was granted one of Newfoundland's first cable television licences. Through major acquisitions, he built Cable Atlantic into one of the largest communications companies in Atlantic Canada. As the principal owner, he eventually sold it to Rogers Cable Inc. for $282 million, giving him the nickname of "Danny Millions". The deal raised eyebrows as immediately prior to its sale to Rogers, Cable Atlantic won an uncontested tender to provide telecom services to the provincial government valued well into the millions of dollars.
Williams also served as president of OIS Fisher, an oil and natural gas company. He also opened three golf courses in Eastern Newfoundland.
Williams ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001. He was elected leader of the party and gained the seat of Humber West in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in a by-election. As Opposition leader, Williams donated his legislative salary to charity.
Williams led his party to victory in the 2003 general election and became the province's ninth premier. The first year of his administration was marked by confrontations between his government and labour unions of the civil service. His son was injured in a nightclub during the height of the conflict, leading Williams to warn the unions to stay away from his family. Shortly thereafter, the attacker came forward and stated that the attack was not politically motivated.
Williams attracted considerable national attention on 23 December 2004 when he ordered all Canadian flags removed from provincial buildings in reply to a dispute with then Prime Minister Paul Martin over his desire to shield Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil revenues from the calculation of its fiscal capacity, the basis for calculating Equalization payments which redistribute wealth to poorer provinces. Earlier in October, the Premier had turned down the federal government's first offer, and Martin's deputy chief of staff Scott Reid said that Williams was "making a mistake of historic proportions and he is doing it on the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians... He may get some short term gains, but he will pay for this in the long run." Reid later clarified that Williams "was allowing his ego to get in the way of negotiations with the federal government" resulted in a public apology by the Prime Minister. In late January 2005, Williams and Martin reached a deal which revised the offset provisions, allowing Newfoundland and Labrador to maintain more of its Equalization revenues, and saw the Government of Canada provide this increased revenue in a one-time payment of $2.6 billion CAD in advance. This significantly raised Williams' popularity in the province, though the deal was criticized by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
On March 3, 2006, Williams appeared on Larry King Live where Paul McCartney and his (then) wife Heather Mills debated the seal hunt with him. During this debate, McCartney claimed that any reasonable person who has seen footage of seals being clubbed would not come away believing this is humane. Premier Williams rebutted, correcting them on several points as well as suggesting that the McCartneys were puppets of the issue that helped bankroll the organizations in protest of the seal hunt. He then invited the McCartneys to visit Newfoundland and Labrador during the interview. The McCartneys stated incorrectly they were currently in Newfoundland, but they were actually in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island during the interview.
Williams consistently has approval ratings that rank among the highest of any Canadian politician. In March 2005 one poll showed it as high as 86%. On June 5 2007, it was announced that a poll conducted throughout the most part of May suggests that Williams approval for him and his PC party is at 73%. This high level of public support has been consistent throughout the last year.
On June 21 2006, Williams announced the resignation of Ed Byrne, the Government House Leader and Minister of Natural Resources. Byrne was under investigation by the provincial Auditor General, John Noseworthy, for making excessive claims against his constituency allowance. Noseworthy is also investigating three other legislative members, two from the Liberals and one from the NDP, for similar expense irregularities.
On August 21 2007, Williams signed an Memorandum of understanding for the Hebron offshore oilfield with several major oil companies. This agreement sacrificed royalty rates in exchange for the ability for the province to acquire a 4.9% equity stake in the project.
On October 9 2007, Williams and the PC government were re-elected in the provincial election, increasing their caucus to 44 seats in the House of Assembly. Despite the massive majority, Williams has received criticism in many corners for delaying the re-opening of the House of Assembly by over six months. Despite this his approval ratings still manage to grow with polls in March 2008 putting his approval at 85%.
As Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador during the 2008 Canadian Federal election, he is at odds with incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government. He fervently opposes a Conservative majority, and fears the result of such a government. As a result Premier Williams launched his "easy as A,B,C" campaign: Anything But Conservative. The animosity stems, in part, from a 2007 promise Harper broke to share offshore oil revenues with the province.
Williams made TV appearances on February 18 2005 and October 16 2007 on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, on the October 23 2007 edition of The Rick Mercer Report, and on the March 5 2008 edition of The Hour. In 2008, Williams was also a judge on CBC's annual show, Canada's Next Great Prime Minister.
Boxing: Tyson Didn't Know Me. but I'll Be the New Buster Douglas Says DANNY WILLIAMS; BOXING EXCLUSIVE: BRIT VOWS TO TAKE HIS CHANCE
Jul 17, 2004; Byline: David ANDERSON DANNY WHO? That's how Danny Williams has been greeted since he arrived in America to fight Mike Tyson....