‘I’ve made a commitment’
Ches Crosbie PC Party leadership campaign hits the road
St. John’s lawyer Ches Crosbie is almost certainly running for the leadership of the PC Party.
“I’ve made the commitment in my own mind, and something very strong would have to happen to persuade me that it’s not something I should be doing,” Crosbie recently told the Telegram. “If all the feedback is negative, if I got a strongly worded letter from God, cosigned by Steve Kent, that I shouldn’t do it, well then maybe I’ll give up.”
For months, it’s been no secret that Crosbie has been eyeing a run at the Tory leadership; he told The Telegram he was considering it at the PC Party annual general meeting in Gander last October.
Now he has a Facebook page, a website, a logo, and plans to attend a lot of meet and greet events.
Crosbie has also disengaged from the personal injury law firm that he founded, and while he plans on continuing to do some medical malpractice work, he’s definitely clearing the decks to make way for politics.
Crosbie has never held elected office, but he’s the son of legendary Progressive Conservative politician John Crosbie, who served as a cabinet minister in the Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney governments.
“I have the advantage that I am an outsider, that I don’t have previous experience in government,” Crosbie said. “And that means that I don’t have connections with previous governments and decisions that previous governments took — whether for good or for ill.”
Budget and Muskrat big
Crosbie said his driving concerns swirl around the provincial budget situation, and the Muskrat Falls boondoggle.
On the budget situation, Crosbie said he believes government can do a better job of providing incentives for publicsector workers and politicians to be more frugal with public funds.
“We started down this road only eight years ago. If we had the per capita spending we had eight years ago, we’d be running a small surplus right now,” Crosbie said. “So it helps to understand this happened in a relatively recent period of time, and it helps to frame it in such a way that, you know, if it’s gotten out of control over a short period of time, then presumably we can get it back into control.”
Crosbie tried to run for the federal Conservatives in 2015 in the riding of Avalon, but he was blackballed by party brass for reasons that were never made entirely clear.
As far as the provincial PC Party, the leadership situation is kind of in flux right now. After former premier Paul Davis lost the 2015 provincial election, he opted to stay on as leader.
“If all the feedback is negative, if I got a strongly worded letter from God, co-signed by Steve Kent, that I shouldn’t do it, well then maybe I’ll give up.” - Ches Crosbie
Back in September, he announced that he wanted to stay on as permanent leader, and lead the party into the 2019 general election. But then, after some sort of backroom tussle within the party, and the possibility of a divisive leadership review at the party’s annual convention, Davis announced that he would step aside.
The PC Party still hasn’t drafted rules for how the leadership contest will go, and there’s no firm timeline on when the campaign will start, or when it will finish. It is expected all of those details will be hammered out sometime this spring.
It’s also not clear who will run against Crosbie; several current and former PC MHAs have made noises about considering a run for the leadership, but none of them have done anything nearly as firm as Crosbie’s campaign plans.