Federal Conservative organizers in Newfoundland and Labrador say Premier Danny Williams's crusade against the party is crippling their ability to find candidates and volunteers as an election looms.
One federal Conservative source told CBC News there is very little organization in place in the St. John's ridings, and a shortage of volunteers in all seven seats in the province. The source blamed it on Williams's ABC (anything but Conservative) campaign, adding that the premier has made things very difficult for the party and created a "horrible" political environment.
Williams started encouraging people to vote "anything but Conservative" in May 2007 after feuding with Prime Minister Stephen Harper over equalization formulas.
Williams has frequently criticized Harper for breaking a written 2006 campaign promise, in which Harper said a Conservative government would exclude non-renewable resources in any new formula.
No candidates in 2 major ridings
Not only are volunteers scarce, so are ballot names. The ridings of St. John's East and St. John's South-Mount Pearl still have no Conservative candidates in place.
St. John's East MP Norm Doyle, a veteran of federal and provincial Tory politics, announced in 2007 that he will retire from public life when his current term ends.
One Conservative source told CBC Loyola Hearn, MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl, is not expected to run again, although he has yet to make his intentions public. No clear possibilities for the nomination in either metro riding have emerged.