New Premier gets Sworn In
On February 13th, 2001 I had the honour of covering, for SNN, the Swearing in of this Province's newest Premier at historic Government House in St. John's, Newfoundland. On that day Mr. Roger Grimes became the 8th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. The day's activities included Premier-designate Grimes being sworn is as well as the swearing in of a new government cabinet. The events occurred within the Cochrane Room of Government House.
The SWEARING IN CEREMONIES were broadcast live over the Internet. Check out STEM~Net, Newfoundland and Labrador's K-12 Educational Network, webcast of this event.
The ceremonies began with the entrance of His Honour Lieutenant-Governor Maxwell House, Roger Grimes and their spouses entering the Cochrane Room. Master of Ceremonies for the swearing in was the Clerk of the Executive Council, Deborah Fry.
As his wife and family members looked on, Grimes read the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and the Oath of Office. He then signed the official document making him the 8th Premier of the Province.
Once the Premier was sworn in, the Lieutenant-Governor addressed the audience. House welcomed the invited guests, schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, residents of the Province and others watching the events via the internet. He thanked Memorial University's Telemedicine Program and the Province's STEM~Net Program for making this live webcast possible ~ making this Ceremony a truly historic event in the Province's history.
Following House's address, guests were invited to join him and his wife for refreshments before the Cabinet was sworn in.
The second half of the ceremonies began with newly-appointed Cabinet members entering the room to be sworn in. (See below for list of Cabinet members. Once all Cabinet Ministers were sworn, the new Premier spoke with the invited guests and those watching via the internet. He briefly thanked the members for agreeing to become Ministers in his Cabinet. The speech was humorous in nature, which left me wondering if his humour would be an intricate part of his actions as Premier.
The Province's newest cabinet consists of 18 ministers, including former Premier Beaton Tulk who was assigned to both Deputy Premier and Minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development. Although Mr Grimes had first stated that he had plans to have a smaller cabinet, if he was elected, this turned out to not be the case. In fact he added 2 new departments to his cabinet: Department of Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education and the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs.
Following the swearing in ceremonies a media scrum was held. Many reporters attended the event from TV, radio and newspapers. I was there as a reporter for SNN. There were so many reporters that I couldn't get a question in. The scrum was the most interesting part of the day, as it was a time where we got to see what is in store for the people of Newfoundland.
The main topics that the Premier kept drawing focus on were his government's mandate to reduce gasoline taxes and lower student tuition fees. He stated that his government will move swiftly to address these two important issues.
"I intend to act quickly to strengthen the focus on key areas of both our social and economic agendas with the goal of bringing about significant change. We have a new, well-focused agenda and a strong team to move it forward", Grimes also stated.
It was obvious that the Premier has a deep interest in the well being of the young people of Newfoundland and Labrador. This was shown through his establishment of a Child Advocacy Program and the new Department of Youth Services and Post Secondary Education. This Department's Cabinet minister is Sandra Kelly. The Department has been established to focus on the social and economic needs of Newfoundland's youth. With many of our young people emigrating out of the province, such a department should hopefully start to work to reverse this growing problem.
The Premier stated that the establishment of the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs has been a long time need in our province. This Department was set up to focus on helping the of aborginal peoples in Labrador. The Department will also work with community and business groups on issues facing them including the controversy over the development of resources such as Voisey's Bay Nickel.
To find out more about Premier Grimes visit: