Cros­bie re­veals con­vic­tion at cam­paign launch

The Pilot - - News - BY JAMES MCLEOD jm­cleod@thetele­gram.com

Lawyer Ches Cros­bie an­nounced his bid for the lead­er­ship of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party — and re­vealed he had been con­victed of re­fus­ing the breath­a­lyzer 24 years ago — at an event at the Quidi Vidi Brew­ery Oct. 24.

Cros­bie re­vealed he re­fused the breath­a­lyzer af­ter drink­ing and driv­ing in St. Johns 24 years ago. He pleaded guilty and later re­ceived a par­don for the con­vic­tion. He said there was no one else in the car at the time.

“It’s noth­ing I’m proud of. I re­gret it greatly,” he said.

The rev­e­la­tion about Cros­bie’s con­vic­tion was the big­gest sur­prise of the evening, which was oth­er­wise shap­ing up to be a predictable af­fair.

Cros­bie for­mally an­nounced he is run­ning for the Tory lead­er­ship, but he’s al­ready been in­for­mally cam­paign­ing for the lead­er­ship for months, un­der the aus­pices of tour­ing the prov­ince and talk­ing to peo­ple about whether he should run.

Months ago, Cros­bie al­ready had a cam­paign website, vol­un­teers run­ning his Twit­ter ac­count, and a series of cam­paign videos to let vot­ers get a look at his softer side.

Cros­bie an­nounced that the three pil­lars of his cam­paign will fo­cus on re­build­ing the econ­omy, restor­ing con­fi­dence in govern­ment and re­vi­tal­iz­ing the PC party.

On the eco­nomic front, Cros­bie promised a “debt brake” which would pre­vent the govern­ment from tak­ing on debt be­yond a cer­tain per­cent­age of the GDP. Cros­bie said a sim­i­lar pol­icy has been suc­cess­ful in Switzer­land. He said he hasn’t worked out the de­tails of how it would be ap­plied here, though.

Cros­bie also pro­posed an “Hon­esty in Pol­i­tics Act” which would make it il­le­gal for politi­cians to break elec­tion prom­ises.

But when asked by re­porters, he said he hasn’t worked the de­tails on that yet ei­ther, in­clud­ing whether politi­cians could sim­ply opt out of the law.

So it wasn’t too re­stric­tive, he said, par­ties could put a caveat in the elec­tion plat­forms that they’ll ful­fil their prom­ises if eco­nomic cir­cum­stances al­low — a caveat that some par­ties al­ready in­clude in their elec­tion doc­u­ments.

Cros­bie doesn’t hold a seat in the leg­is­la­ture, and won’t be run­ning in the up­com­ing by­elec­tion in Mount Pearl North. He doesn’t cur­rently have the sup­port of any of the sit­ting Tory MHAs in the leg­is­la­ture.

The only cur­rent MHA who showed up for Cros­bie’s cam­paign launch was Con­cep­tion Bay East-Bell Is­land MHA David Brazil.

Brazil told re­porters that he might be run­ning against Cros­bie for the lead­er­ship, and he’ll make up his mind about whether to run by the end of the month.

JAMES MCLEOD/THE TELE­GRAM

Ches Cros­bie speaks to sup­port­ers and re­porters at his cam­paign launch Oct. 24, where he of­fi­cially an­nounced he is run­ning for the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party lead­er­ship. He also re­vealed that 24 years ago he was con­victed of re­fus­ing the breath­a­lyzer while drink­ing and driv­ing.

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