No con­test


If there were ever any doubts about whether the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party wanted to avoid a lead­er­ship con­test this year, they’ve since been cast aside fol­low­ing the cu­ri­ous case of Brad Ca­bana.

How­ever, the al­le­ga­tions made by Ca­bana that the ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant of Ross Wise­man, who was in­stalled last week as the prov­ince’s new en­vi­ron­ment and con­ser­va­tion min­is­ter, threat­ened him are an un­ex­pected twist.

To call Ca­bana a long shot when it comes to run­ning for the party’s lead­er­ship might be giv­ing him more credit than he de­serves. Hav­ing lived in the prov­ince for what ap­pears to be lit­tle over a year in both Glover­town and Hick­man’s Har­bour, his ties to New­found­land and Labrador are slight.

Ac­cord­ing to Ca­bana, Chick Cholock threat­ened him with “per­sonal de­struc­tion” and sug­gested his mar­riage would end in divorce when he vis­ited Ca­bana at his home on Jan. 5. He claimed his wife was also a wit­ness to this.

“ In an ideal world there will not be a lead­er­ship chal­lenge ( that al­ways hurts the party for years.” Those words, writ­ten by Cholock in an e-mail sent Dec. 30 to Ca­bana, hint at the party’s strat­egy for re­elec­tion. As was men­tioned in a re­cent Com­pass ed­i­to­rial, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives ap­par­ently wants to show a united front.

“ We can’t risk all (Danny Wil­liams) worked for by hav­ing a di­vi­sive lead­er­ship squab­ble at this stage and mak­ing it eas­ier for the op­po­si­tion to win more seats and shud­der to think, form the govern­ment in Oc­to­ber,” Cholock later writes in the e-mail, which Ca­bana shared with The Tele­gram last week.

Wise­man, the MHA for Ca­bana’s home district, told me­dia that if Cholock did say any­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate in their pri­vate meet­ing, it was as a pri­vate cit­i­zen and not as a party rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

That is a fair state­ment to make. How­ever, Wise­man him­self re­ferred to Ca­bana’s can­di­dacy as a “waste of time.” That’s a harsh thing to say re­gard­ing a demo­cratic process where can­di­dates are sup­pos­edly en­cour­aged to step for­ward.

The call for nom­i­na­tions was made on Dec. 30, with Jan. 10 as the dead­line to file pa­pers. That gave po­ten­tial can­di­dates a very short time frame to work with, es­pe­cially given there was a long week­end on the hori­zon.

Would Ca­bana ever have a shot at win­ning? It’s highly doubt­ful. But all can­di­dates should be given a fair chance, and with all that’s gone on in the last week, it’s not en­tirely clear whether the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives have done so here.

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