Nfld. & Labrador

PC hopeful skirts questions on values after fellow Labrador candidate axed

Derick Sharron, a Pentecostal pastor, says he would fight for everyone in his district.

Derick Sharron, a Pentecostal pastor, says he would fight for everyone in his district

Ches Crosbie arrives for a media scrum outside the PC headquarters in St. John's on Friday. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

PC Leader Ches Crosbie called another Labrador candidate Friday morning to ensure that if he held socially conservative views, he should keep them to himself.

And when CBC contacted Derick Sharron, the Tory candidate in Labrador West, it seems the message came through loud and clear. 

"I know it's an issue important to some people but it's important for you to know that as an elected MHA for Labrador West, I will defend the rights of every person," Sharron said in an interview by phone.

"Not only in this constituency but across the island as regards to the Constitution of Canada."

Sharron, a Pentecostal pastor who is originally from central Newfoundland, skirted questions about his own values and how he feels about his fellow Labrador candidate, Michael Normore, being turfed from the party. 

"I do not have an opinion on that. I'm sorry," Sharron said. 

Normore to run as Independent

Earlier in the day, Crosbie announced he no longer supports the Cartwright-L'Anse aux Clair candidate after a social media post the PC candidate made in 2015 was highlighted in a CBC story

Normore was open about his anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage sentiments, and Crosbie had supported him as long as he was working for his district. But the post, which suggests children should have a mother and father, was the last straw. 

He will be an Independent MHA, if he wins.

As long as candidates are not advocating against same-sex marriage and abortion, and follow the charter rights, Crosbie said, it's fine. 

"If you go into politics you have to observe that these things are a matter of social consensus and you should not be stirring them up," Crosbie said.

"The vetting didn't disclose the particular social media post that I find objectionable."

Derick Sharron is the PC candidate in Labrador West. (Facebook)

Crosbie said he does not align with those values himself. And in a later news release, the PCs distanced themselves from the conservative messaging from their former candidate. 

"They are opinions that I don't share and the majority of the PC party don't share. But I'm not about to denounce his personal opinion," Crosbie said of Normore's views.

What about the Liberals?

Meanwhile, Crosbie said he called Sharron and "got to know in detail what his outlook is and he pointed out to me that he's been a Pentecostal pastor for 25 years and has been well aware of the issue … or, the social issues that are very sensitive."

"He's very aware of the law of the land."

Crosbie then steered the conversation towards the Liberal party, and Exploits incumbent Jerry Dean in particular. 

"It's not just a PC issue. People with social conservative views are running for different parties, including the Liberal party."

Incumbent Jerry Dean, former mayor of Botwood, is campaigning to keep his seat in the district of Exploits. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

That sparked a statement from Dean, who said he does, in fact, support same-sex marriage and a woman's right to choose.

"I am pro-choice, I support same-sex marriage, and I affirmed these values through the vetting process involved with my becoming a candidate for the Liberal Party," reads the statement in part.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

With files from Zach Goudie

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.