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Profile of Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Jul 25, 2013

 

    

 

Kathy Dunderdale is the 10th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the first woman to hold this position in the province.  

 

Family story

 

Dunderdale was the middle child of 11 children (eight girls and three boys).  She was born and raised in a small fishing village in Burin on the coast of Newfoundland (population 2500).

 

Education:   

 

She left her social work degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland to marry Captain Peter Dunderdale, a British Sea Captain with whom she has a son and a daughter.

 

Former (pre)-occupations:   

 

  • Stay-at-home mother and volunteer.
  • Assisted her husband in his consulting company.
  • Worked for the Department of Social Services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

(In)formal political beginnings:

 

  • Joined a lobby group that sought to stop the closing of the Burin fish plant. 
  • Served on Burin town council from 1985 to 1989 and as President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Elected mayor of Burin from 1989-1993.   

Leadership bid:

 

As Deputy Premier, Kathy Dunderdale replaced premier Danny Williams when he retired in December 2010.  In April 2011, she became the leader of the Newfoundland Progressive Conservative Party in an uncontested race.

 

Victory:  

 

In the provincial election in October 2011, she won a majority government.

 

Highlights/Claims to fame:

 

  • The conservative think tank, the Fraser Institute, chose her in December 2012 as the country’s best fiscal performer among Canada’s premiers (Palacios et al.).
  • In 2012, Dunderdale ran into special criticism for Bill 29 that altered the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  • In the lead up to Newfoundland's 2011 general election, Ms. Dunderdale set a goal of competing in the province's historic annual ten mile race. Not only did she significantly improve her health status, she completed the race in a very respectable time.

 

 

This Premier's profile is part of EV's summer news series on the occasion of the annual Premiers' meeting at Niagara on the Lake in July 2013. This year, a historic six women premiers were at the table representing nearly half of all Premiers. Read more here

 

 

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.