|8th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador|
February 13, 2001 – November 6, 2003
|Preceded by||Beaton Tulk|
|Succeeded by||Danny Williams|
|Leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Preceded by||Beaton Tulk|
|Succeeded by||Gerry Reid|
|Member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly for Exploits|
|Preceded by||Hugh Twomey|
|Succeeded by||Clayton Forsey|
May 2, 1950 |
Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador
|Political party||Liberal Party|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann Lewis|
|Alma mater||Memorial University, B.S., B.Ed., M.Ed.|
A teacher by profession, Grimes was elected president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association in 1985, a position he held for two years.
Grimes entered the cabinet of Premier Clyde Wells in 1991 as Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, followed by service as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Under Premier Brian Tobin, Grimes was by now a senior Minister and served in the portfolios of Education, Mines and Energy, and Health and Community Servies.
2001 NL Liberal Leadership Convention
Grimes won the 2001 Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Leadership to become Party Leader, defeating John Efford by 14 votes in a fierce and divisive contest in Mount Pearl. Efford and fellow leadership contestant Paul Dicks subsequently left provincial politics saying they could not work under the leadership of Grimes.
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
In 2002, Grimes called for a review of the Act of Union by which the province had become a part of Canada and on July 2, 2003, the findings of the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada were released. It noted the following stressors in the relationship between the province and Canada:
- The huge impact on the province by the destruction of the cod stocks.
- Hydroelectricity resources in Labrador have primarily benefited Quebec.
- Chronically high unemployment; the highest in Canada.
- Lowest per-capita income in Canada.
- The highest tax rates in the country.
- The most out-migration of any province in Canada.
The report called for:
- more collaborative federalism;
- an action team to deal with the fishery in waters surrounding Newfoundland;
- collaboration between Canada, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador on the development of the Gull Island hydro site on the lower part of the Churchill River;
- revision of the Atlantic Accord, negotiated by the provincial and federal governments in the 1980s, to ensure that that offshore oil and gas royalties primarily benefit the province (this recommendation was one of the earliest priorities of Grimes' successor, Danny Williams);
- immediate and realistic negotiations on joint management of the fishery.
Also in 2003, the federal government declared a moratorium on the last remaining cod fishery in Atlantic Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Newfoundland and Labrador was again the most directly affected province. As Grimes was dealing with this issue, and others facing the province, time was soon running out on his tenure.
Despite his attempts to strike an image as a fresh government, Grimes and his Liberals were defeated in the October 2003 provincial election by the Progressive Conservatives under Danny Williams, bringing an end to 14 years of Liberal rule in Newfoundland and Labrador.
On May 30, 2005, Grimes resigned the seat he had held in the legislature for 16 years and stepped down as the leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is quoted as saying that the time was right for him to retire from provincial politics. Gerry Reid became interim leader after Grimes announced his retirement.