A former Saskatchewan mayor who wanted to succeed Danny Williams as Newfoundland and Labrador's premier has been disqualified from the provincial Tory leadership race.
Brad Cabana made an 11th-hour bid for the Progressive Conservative leadership on Monday, filing nomination papers just an hour before the nominations closed.
But Cabana was told late Tuesday that too many of the names on his nomination papers failed to meet the party's requirements.
"To be frank, it's devastating," Cabana told CBC News Tuesday evening. "I think it's a real black day for democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador. A real black day."
Cabana, a Random Island resident who runs a blog called Rock Solid Politics, has three days to inform the party whether he will appeal the decision of a committee of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, convention co-chair Shawn Skinner told reporters.
If he does wish to appeal, he has an additional 10 days to prepare a case to the party.
Cabana said Tuesday evening he will consult with his supporters before making a decision.
"I'm just getting everybody together and deciding whether or not the appeal process is the route to go or whether the court process is the route to go, and we're still coming to terms with that."
'Ridiculous and an affront'
In an earlier interview Tuesday, Cabana told CBC News he would seek legal advice for what he considered a "very good" case.
"I spent seven years serving my country, and these are the things that we stood up for. This is, in my opinion, ridiculous, and an affront," Cabana said in an interview.
Skinner, a provincial cabinet minister who was appointed co-chair of the PC convention committee, said the credentials committee that reviewed Cabana's papers was fair.
"We tried to be as flexible as we could and as open as we could, and the names that Mr. Cabana brought forward to us are not being people that have been engaged in our party or engaged in any of the activities of our party," Skinner told reporters.
Skinner said the party solicited multiple legal opinions before announcing its decision early Tuesday evening.
If Cabana does not appeal, Premier Kathy Dunderdale will be acclaimed as leader.
Dunderdale, who had originally planned to serve as interim premier until a full-fledged leadership convention could be organized this year, changed her mind after Christmas and submitted nomination papers. All other members of the governing Tory caucus have endorsed her.
Cabana is a political unknown in Newfoundland and Labrador, although he has been involved with Conservative politics in other jurisdictions for more than 20 years.
He attracted national media attention when he considered running for the federal PC leadership in 1998, as well as for a 1990 campaign against the goods and services tax. At that time, he was the mayor of the tiny Saskatchewan village of Elstow.
Cabana said Monday he was inspired to seek the PC leadership in Newfoundland and Labrador by Danny Williams, who retired in December after seven years as premier and nine as Tory leader.