Danny Williams is the ninth premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and leader of the province's Progressive Conservative Party. He is the Member of the House of Assembly (MHA) for the riding of Humber West.
In the provincial election held October 9, 2007, Williams and his PC Party won nine more seats than in the preceding election, securing 70 percent of the popular vote - the highest percentage the Party has ever achieved. Williams' approval rate (as high as 86 percent in March 2005, and 85 percent in March 2008) has consistently ranked among the highest of any Canadian politician.
Under Williams' leadership, the province has seen unprecedented prosperity thanks to offshore oil projects (for example, the Hebron Oil Field deal was announced just before the 2007 provincial election). At the time of writing, the government had just released its budget, which included tax cuts and fee reductions, and initiatives to reduce poverty, develop knowledge-based industries and strengthen health care within the province. An inquiry into pervasive misdiagnosis of breast cancer in the province has garnered significant attention, both in the province and nationally.
In the October 21, 2003 provincial election, the PC Party won 34 of 48 seats; Williams was sworn in as Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador on November 6, 2003. He has also held cabinet posts, serving as Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister Responsible for Business. Williams has been PC Party leader since April 2001. In a by-election held in June 2001, he was elected MHA for Humber West, and became the leader of the Official Opposition.
Williams has made national headlines more than once for his opposition to the federal government. In the past, he was at odds with the federal Liberal government over the province's offshore oil revenues. However, in late January 2005, Williams and Prime Minister Paul Martin reached a deal that revised the offshore royalty formula. More recently, he was at odds with the federal Conservative government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the 2007 federal budget which contained provisions for a new equalization formula.
Williams had a diverse career before politics. He practiced law in the province beginning in 1972, and was appointed to Queen's Counsel in 1984. He also played a central role in the development of cable television in Newfoundland, until Rogers Communications purchased Cable Atlantic. Williams also served as President of OIS Fisher, an offshore oil and gas company. Additionally, he helped found, and served as President of, the St. John's Junior Hockey League; he was also instrumental in bringing the St. John's Maple Leafs AHL team to the city.
Williams was born in St. John's on August 4, 1949. He attended Gonzaga High School and St. Bonaventure's College. He continued his post-secondary education at Memorial University of Newfoundland where he studied political science and economics. Williams was awarded a Rhodes scholarship in 1969, which he used to earn a degree in Arts in Law from Oxford University. After completing his studies, Williams returned to Canada and earned a Law Degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
He is married to Maureen Power. They have four children, Jillian, Daniel, Jane, and Katie, and two grandchildren, Abbigayle and Gabriel. Williams has served on several community boards, including the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Parliamentary Channel, the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation, and the Provincial Government Offshore Oil Impact Advisory Council. Williams has also been involved with Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Iris Kirby House, and the Arthritis Society.