Businessman Bill Barry says he might consider wading into the renewed PC Party leadership race, but there would have to be a dramatic shift in the ground rules first.

Barry is proposing ballot boxes in every district, with every resident over 18 allowed to vote for the next leader of the party.

"An open, democratic process where anyone that has a desire to run can step up to the plate, and a selection process taken by free, independent voters without being overly influenced by any elite group," Barry told CBC.

"If it was like that, then certainly I'd give it some consideration."

Barry, who runs the Barry Group of fish companies, initially offered for the leadership but pulled out after concluding the party had unofficially predetermined that Frank Coleman would succeed Premier Tom Marshall.

Barry admits Coleman's sudden decision on Monday to remove himself from becoming leader and, ultimately, the premiership gave him pause for thought.


John Ottenheimer, a former provincial health minister, has confirmed he will be a candidate in the renewed PC Party leadership race. (CBC)

‚ÄčBy contrast, former Tory cabinet minister John Ottenheimer said he made up his mind to run for leader almost instantaneously.

"Yesterday, everything changed," said Ottenheimer. "And I had gone through this exercise several months ago of speaking with family members and colleagues, so I relatively quickly made the decision that I would submit my name. And that's it. I'm off and running."

Barry, however, says he'll wait to see how the party executive handles the process. The executive was scheduled to meet later on Tuesday to mull over the unique situation.

"As I've said, the best process is a ballot box in every riding and let everybody over 18 vote for the new leader. I'm told that's impossible by people inside the party because of the constitution. But I personally don't believe anything is impossible."

"No man is an island, and it's hard to run for a party if it doesn't want ya." - Bill Barry

Barry said it would also be nice to know if the party even wants him to participate.

"I'd be dishonest if I told you that I had no interest because when I ran for the job, I ran because I wanted it. And I ran because I thought I could do it, and I thought I had something to contribute," he said.

"But no man is an island, and it's hard to run for a party if it doesn't want ya."

Barry also believes anyone who truly desires the job shouldn't be wasting time on the fence.

"The people that are dithering and dathering as to whether they may run or won't run, they'd still dither and dather in September. And Newfoundlanders and Labradorians shouldn't have to choose somebody who can't make up their mind whether they want to be in or want to be out."

He said it comes down to whether the party wants a caretaker or a true leader with new direction.

Ain't no follower

"If they're advertising for a follower, then my name is not in. If they want a leader, if they want somebody who has leadership skills and leadership ability who has strong opinions and a lot of experience, and they considered me that, then you know, yeah, I'd certainly give it consideration.

"But if they want somebody (with) status quo, to embrace all the policies of the past just because they were done, well I'm not your guy."

Barry insists there are clear guiding principles that the PC Party should follow this time around.

"If you're looking for a leader, you should be looking for change. You should be looking for a new dynamic and people with new ideas and people who are going to address concerns and issues that a lot of citizens in this province have, that are not being addressed by either party, in my view."