POLITICS

Conservative Commentator, Crosbie Cousin Baffled By Rejection

07/05/2015 04:20 EDT | Updated 07/05/2016 05:59 EDT

A Conservative commentator and relative of Ches Crosbie is baffled by the Conservative Party of Canada's decision to reject Crosbie as a candidate in the upcoming federal election — especially because he doesn't think Crosbie would have won the race.

"I don't think he was going to win, which makes this more infuriating," said Tim Powers in an interview on CBC's Crosstalk. Powers is also a frequent commentator on CBC TV's Power and Politics.

Powers said it was Crosbie's outspoken father, long-time Tory politician and former federal cabinet minister John Crosbie, who first told him the news.

"I was off, running on Canada Day morning," he said. "I came back to three or four calls, all of them from John, and each of them a little bit more passionate about what was happening."

Powers, who once worked for John Crosbie, is a cousin to both Crosbie men.

While the commentator said he can't pinpoint a precise reason behind the decision, he thinks there were a number of deciding factors — including Crosbie's involvement in a theatrical performance for charity that poked fun at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright.

Powers also referred to a lacklustre interview of Crosbie's, and the fact that his law firm represented a group asking government for compensation on behalf of residential school survivors as being possible motivators.

"[But] I think all of that is flimsy and could have been managed," he said.

According to an Elections Canada financial report, Crosbie also made multiple contributions to the Liberal Party in 2012.

Powers said he's been contacted by a number of conservatives from the province who are disheartened by the party's decision.

"They could have let Ches run, not had the mess that they had, and gone forward with Ches trying his hand in politics and not succeed — which makes it all the more baffling," said Powers.

"The only people who've been hurt by this, other than Ches Crosbie, is the Conservative Party members federally in Newfoundland and Labrador who have just taken another step back. And Lord knows we're already on the shore."

Comedy sketch sabotage

A political science professor at Memorial University is equally surprised by the Tory's decision to reject Crosbie.

Steve Tomblin said it's hard to know what motivated the rejection, but said he hopes it wasn't because of Crosbie's involvement in a comedy sketch.

"You'd be very thin-skinned if you didn't think that somebody was an appropriate candidate because they said something in a gathering where nothing was really taken seriously."

Tombin said the party doesn't have to disclose why it made the decision it did and that, in itself, is a problem.

"There's this narrative that there are no rules. There's no rules for the Senate, there's no rules for accounting. Politicians don't really have a sense that there's fair play," he said.

"I mean, if we were hiring somebody at the university, there is a clear process, there is a set of rules that you'd have to explain how or why a particular candidate was not appropriate or was not considered."

Tomblin believes the speculation surrounding Crosbie's rejection is bad for the political process.

"If he doesn't meet the standards in terms of his background, in terms of his training, in terms of his position within the community — his family's position within the community. If he doesn't meet the standards, then who does?"

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