nl-cabana-brad-112

Brad Cabana has lost an internal appeal from the Progressive Conservative party to enter a race to become its leader.

Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservatives said Thursday that Brad Cabana did not meet the requirements necessary to seek its leadership.

The decision effectively clears the way for Premier Kathy Dunderdale to stay in that position until October's general election, as Dunderdale was the only candidate accepted for the race to replace former premier Danny Williams.

Cabana had appealed the party's rejection of his leadership nomination application because the signatures on his form didn't belong to official party members.

But in a one-paragraph decision released Thursday, the party said its rules committee had "upheld the decision made by the credential committee determining Mr. Brad Cabana as not eligible for accreditation, specifically in relation to the stipulation of providing signatures of 50 individuals who are members of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador."

The statement was issued by party president John Babb and convention co-chairs Joan Burke and Shawn Skinner.

Cabana, who moved to Hickman's Harbour just last summer, was virtually unknown in Newfoundland and Labrador — particularly in Tory circles — when he made a bid to enter the leadership race just an hour before nominations closed. He runs a small business and also publishes a blog on local politics.

Cabana insists that his reading of the PC constitution is accurate, and that ordinary citizens — who are entitled to vote in district candidacy races, regardless of whether they belong to the party or not — are also eligible to nominate a leadership candidate.

The party, however, holds a different view, and has maintained that nomination papers must be signed only by bona fide Tories.

Cabana has said he would take the matter to court if the appeal to the party's rules committee failed.

Cabana alleged earlier this month that an aide to Environment Minister Ross Wiseman had effectively threatened him and his business during a meeting at Cabana's home several weeks ago. Wiseman has denied the allegation.