Nfld. & Labrador

Ches Crosbie calls for review of his own leadership, acknowledges lack of charisma

Ches Crosbie wants the membership of the PC party to evaluate his leadership, giving them a chance to turf him as leader.

'I may not be the most charismatic individual,' says PC leader

Ches Crosbie insists if he doesn't have the strong support of his party, he won't stay on as leader (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Ches Crosbie wants PC members to vote on his leadership, giving them a chance to turf him as leader.

Right now the party doesn't have an automatic review of the leader after an election, so Crosbie is calling for one himself.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he said he's heard criticism from his own caucus about his style.

"They point out to me that I may not be the most charismatic individual," he said.

"We're not in a situation in Newfoundland and Labrador history where what's called for is frothy, superficial charisma. We're in a situation where we need substance."

Crosbie insists he has the backing of his caucus and his executive.

I'm here to bring the party into power, and if I see the writing on the wall that it's unlikely I can achieve that...then I won't be pushing the issue, I'll let someone else see if they can do better.- Ches Crosbie, PC Leader

Party members are meeting in Gander this weekend for the party's annual meeting, but his leadership won't officially be on the agenda.

Crosbie said he'd like the party to vote on his leadership in the spring. The Liberals have an automatic leadership review after an election but there's no similar provision for the Progressive Conservatives.

Ches Crosbie has faced criticism for his inability to connect with voters since winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives in 2018 (CBC)

"I'm not in this to cling to a job," said Crosbie. He said he's working in the best interests of the party and the province.

"If that means me standing aside for someone more capable of attracting the popularity of the public then that's what I'll do."

Crosbie was a successful class-action lawyer before entering politics.

A vote typically only forces the removal of a leader if they fail to get more than 50 per cent of the votes.

But leaders usually look for a higher level of support than that from their own party to stay on.

Crosbie said he hasn't considered what percentage he wants to see.

He points to successes as leader. In the spring election he reduced the Liberals from a majority to a minority government, and insists he's done a good job in the fall legislature sitting of keeping the government in check.

But his difficulty in connecting with voters has been criticized from both in and outside the party.

"I'm here to bring the party into power, and if I see the writing on the wall that it's unlikely I can achieve that ... then I won't be pushing the issue. I'll let someone else see if they can do better," he said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Peter Cowan

CBC News

Peter Cowan is a St. John's-based reporter with CBC News.

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