Thin skin

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

Fol­low­ing the whole ker­fuf­fle last week over Ches Cros­bie’s failed at­tempt to rep­re­sent the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tives in the Avalon rid­ing, one has to won­der whether the party is even both­ered to try and win seats in New­found­land and Labrador.

Whether or not you’re on board with the gov­ern­ing style of the party un­der Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper’s di­rec­tion, it’s hard not to ac­knowl­edge that Cros­bie is a very cred­i­ble can­di­date.

Set­ting aside his dad’s lengthy and well-doc­u­mented ca­reer in pol­i­tics (most ev­ery­one of votin­gage in New­found­land and Labrador knows who John Cros­bie is), Ches has made a name for him­self. His law prac­tice has han­dled some no­table cases, the most re­cent of which is the class ac­tion suit against the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment over moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions. Many in re­cent days have also drawn at­ten­tion to his law­suit against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on be­half of residential school sur­vivors in this province.

So, what can be made of the news he’s not good to go for the Con­ser­va­tives? The party is of­fi­cially seal­ing its col­lec­tive lip when it comes to com­ment­ing on the de­ci­sion, but that hasn’t stopped peo­ple from spec­u­lat­ing.

Maybe his in­volve­ment in a satiric Shake­speare per­for­mance with other lawyers that poked fun at the prime min­is­ter and for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Sen­a­tor Mike Duffy ruf­fled some feath­ers. Any sen­si­ble per­son who takes the time to view footage float­ing around the In­ter­net of his per­for­mance or to lis­ten to a promo Cros­bie recorded for ra­dio should be able to re­al­ize it was all done in the spirit of fun and for a good cause — Cupids’ Per­chance Theatre.

The de­ci­sion to not ac­cept Cros­bie’s can­di­dacy is all the more puz­zling when one looks at whom the Con­ser­va­tives did ac­cept into the fold for the next elec­tion. Kevin O’Brien, who re­signed last week from the House of Assem­bly af­ter a lengthy ca­reer in pro­vin­cial pol­i­tics, will be the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date for Coast of Bays-Cen­tral-Notre Dame.

At the height of for­mer premier Danny Wil­liams’ Any­thing But Con­ser­va­tive cam­paign, O’Brien said Harper had “no in­tegrity” and “broke prom­ises” made to the province.

That was then and this is now. O’Brien is ready to move on from pro­vin­cial pol­i­tics and feels he might have a shot at un­seat­ing Lib­eral MP Scott Simms.

In com­par­i­son to what O’Brien said, Ches Cros­bie’s bit of theatre seems harm­less. We don’t even know if that played a role in the party’s de­ci­sion not to ac­cept him. John Cros­bie placed some blame at the feet of Con­ser­va­tive Sen­a­tor David Wells, sug­gest­ing Wells wants to main­tain his grip on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s New­found­land in­ter­ests. Wells has since de­nied hav­ing any in­volve­ment what­so­ever in the Avalon rid­ing de­ci­sion.

It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see who ul­ti­mately gets to run in what has been con­sid­ered a winnable seat for the Con­ser­va­tives. Some spec­u­late in­de­pen­dent MP Scott An­drews is lean­ing to­wards seek­ing re-elec­tion this fall. That would likely split the vote in favour of the right-wing party.

This whole busi­ness with Ches Cros­bie’s can­di­dacy might make things harder for the Con­ser­va­tives. But no­body will know for sure un­til there’s a name ready for the bal­lot.

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