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Premier visits campus

Premier Danny Williams, seen here with Susan Myrden and Dr. Dale Foster, acting dean of the Faculty of Business, was an in-class speaker in the faculty in November.

By Meaghan Whelan

Premier Danny Williams was in the Faculty of Business Administration on Nov. 24 to talk to students in Susan Myrden’s marketing strategy class.

Premier Williams spoke to a packed classroom about the various facets of marketing – the marketing done by individuals and organizations as well as the importance of marketing and communications to the provincial government. He cited the award-winning provincial tourism campaign as one of the ways that marketing has positively impacted the province and talked about how his background and years of experience were a benefit to him in political life.

“My business and legal background gave me the self assurance to make some risky decisions. We rolled the dice a few times, there is no question,” he said. “Taking down the flags or taking on the oil companies – we could have lost but we didn’t. That’s where marketing and public relations fits in. You have to know exactly what you’re trying to do, what you’re trying to achieve, keep your message tight, get your message out, know your audience – that is basically what it’s all about.”

The wide-ranging conversation covered everything from the message behind taking down the Canadian flag in 2004 to the Premier’s appearance on Larry King Live to defend Newfoundland and Labrador’s seal hunt to Paul McCartney – one of his musical idols.

It was the first time Premier Williams had been on campus to speak to a class and he said the experience was rewarding and he hoped to be back on campus again.

“It can be hard to find time in my schedule, but events like this are rewarding and I always learn a lot from students. I’d like to come back again and get into a political science class,” he said. “I had a great discussion with students, and their questions were topical and insightful. That shows me that the students of our province are engaged and interested in the community and what is happening politically.”

After the discussion about the role of marketing, the premier opened up the floor for questions and students responded with questions about the proposed hydro deal between New Brunswick and Quebec, the seal hunt, and negative advertising in politics.

Brandon Copeland is a third-year student with a double major in political science and business. He attended the presentation and asked the premier about how his business background helped him in his political life.

“It was great to hear from a guy like Danny Williams, who has a business background and then got into politics. It was really insightful to hear his perspective on both worlds and how they impact each other,” Mr. Copeland said. “I hope that he comes back to campus again.”