07/02/2015 09:55 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT

'MacHarper' joke spurred Ches Crosbie's rejection as Conservative candidate, John Crosbie surmises

Former PC cabinet minister John Crosbie says he believes the Conservative Party of Canada rejected his son's candidacy over a joke Ches Crosbie made at a theatrical performance in St. John's in April.

Ches Crosbie, a prominent personal injury lawyer, has said he was told Tuesday by party officials that he wasn't the type of candidate the party is looking for to run in the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Avalon.

"The excuse they gave him — and it's ridiculous — [is] that a month or two ago at a lawyer meeting ... they were having a theatrical performance to raise money for the lawyers or their association, he had performed or made a joke about something to do with Mike Duffy and the government," John Crosbie told CBC News.

On April 25, the younger Crosbie and other local lawyers tackled Shakespeare in 'Called to the Bard', in which he played MacHarper, who duelled MacDuffy. The theatrical performance for charity also included a jab at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright. 

"Why should I play the political fool and die on my known sword while Nigel Wright and MacDuffy live, the gashes look better upon them," Crosbie said in a practice run of the skit on the St. John's Morning Show.

John Crosbie said he believed the committee which determines who is a suitable candidate for the party used the joke as a reason to reject him as a candidate.

"Someone up in Ottawa who's determined that they don't want my son up there because they think he'd be too independent minded and they wouldn't be able to control him, and decided to use this as a reason why he couldn't be approved as candidate for the [Conservative] party in the coming election," John Crosbie said.

"These people don't care about helping the party. They want to help themselves to be influential in all Newfoundland affairs so they can dictate to us down here in Newfoundland what the federal attitude is towards everything that's happening in Newfoundland."

In a written statement Wednesday, Ches Crosbie said he would not be appealing the party's decision.

The Conservative Party of Canada is not commenting on the decision to reject Crosbie as a candidate, adding it is an internal party matter.