Ches Crosbie, prominent lawyer and son of the most famous federal conservative politician this province has ever produced, appeared to have just recently been acclaimed as the Conservative candidate from the riding of Avalon. All that remained was for his candidacy was the formality of having his candidacy ratified by the party. Then yesterday, on Canada Day, news broke that Mr. Crosbie had been rejected as a candidate.
The Conservatives have not exactly been known for having the most rigorous vetting process for candidates. After all, various Senate appointees have found themselves facing criminal charges and the Party failed to pick up on the fact that a candidate who recently won a nomination in Quebec was only running as part of his art project. Yet here we have the bizarre situation of the party brass rejecting the highest profile Conservative candidate they could hope to attract in Newfoundland and Labrador, a province they have been shut out of for the past several elections. If the Conservatives have any hope regaining an N.L. seat this election, it will be in the riding of Avalon, where the Liberals are still recovering from a sexual harassment scandal that saw the sitting MP thrown out of the Liberal caucus.
If you are not from this province it is difficult to grasp just how bizarre a story this is. The Crosbie name is as recognizable as any in this province, with people from multiple generations having a prominent role in law, business, and politics over the course of the past century. Ches Crosbie, was not some spoiled rich kid; he is a successful and prominent lawyer in his own right. To think that someone of his pedigree and stature would be casually rejected without a word of explanation from the Party is downright insulting and demeaning to Mr. Crosbie, his family, and indirectly, the entire province. Imagine if Paul Martin had a son who had been a prominent lawyer for 30 years and ran unopposed for the nomination in a Quebec riding only to see his candidacy blocked.
This move simply has to be motivated by something other than a desire to win seats in this province. It truly does seem like an insult, as if the Conservative party brass has long since given up on winning a seat here while Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister, and they would just as soon extend their middle finger to the province than be perceived as trying and failing to win back a seat, particularly if that seat is won by a wealthy and unpredictable candidate who would be unlikely to tow the party line. By blocking Mr. Crosbie’s candidacy, the federal Conservatives seem to be more interested in trolling NL voters than they are in winning their votes.