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Following the whole kerfuffle last week over Ches Crosbie’s failed attempt to represent the federal Conservatives in the Avalon riding, one has to wonder whether the party is even bothered to try and win seats in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ches Crosbie.

Whether or not you’re on board with the governing style of the party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s direction, it’s hard not to acknowledge that Crosbie is a very credible candidate.

Setting aside his dad’s lengthy and well-documented career in politics (most everyone of voting-age in Newfoundland and Labrador knows who John Crosbie is), Ches has made a name for himself. His law practice has handled some notable cases, the most recent of which is the class action suit against the provincial government over moose-vehicle collisions. Many in recent days have also drawn attention to his lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of residential school survivors in this province.

So, what can be made of the news he’s not good to go for the Conservatives? The party is officially sealing its collective lip when it comes to commenting on the decision, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating.

Maybe his involvement in a satiric Shakespeare performance with other lawyers that poked fun at the prime minister and former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy ruffled some feathers. Any sensible person who takes the time to view footage floating around the Internet of his performance or to listen to a promo Crosbie recorded for radio should be able to realize it was all done in the spirit of fun and for a good cause  — Cupids’ Perchance Theatre.

The decision to not accept Crosbie’s candidacy is all the more puzzling when one looks at whom the Conservatives did accept into the fold for the next election. Kevin O’Brien, who resigned last week from the House of Assembly after a lengthy career in provincial politics, will be the federal Conservative candidate for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame.

At the height of former premier Danny Williams’ Anything But Conservative campaign, O’Brien said Harper had “no integrity” and “broke promises” made to the province.

That was then and this is now. O’Brien is ready to move on from provincial politics and feels he might have a shot at unseating Liberal MP Scott Simms.

In comparison to what O’Brien said, Ches Crosbie’s bit of theatre seems harmless. We don’t even know if that played a role in the party’s decision not to accept him. John Crosbie placed some blame at the feet of Conservative Senator David Wells, suggesting Wells wants to maintain his grip on the federal government’s Newfoundland interests. Wells has since denied having any involvement whatsoever in the Avalon riding decision.

It’ll be interesting to see who ultimately gets to run in what has been considered a winnable seat for the Conservatives. Some speculate independent MP Scott Andrews is leaning towards seeking re-election this fall. That would likely split the vote in favour of the right-wing party.

This whole business with Ches Crosbie’s candidacy might make things harder for the Conservatives. But nobody will know for sure until there’s a name ready for the ballot.

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