‘I’ve made a com­mit­ment’

Ches Cros­bie PC Party lead­er­ship cam­paign hits the road

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - BY JAMES MCLEOD

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

con­cerns

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.

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.

“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

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