John Crosbie accuses N.L. Senator David Wells of sabotaging Ches Crosbie's bid
Crosbie Sr. feels the 'MacHarper' joke was an excuse to boot out Ches Crosbie
Former PC cabinet minister John Crosbie is accusing Newfoundland and Labrador Senator David Wells for putting a stop to Ches Crosbie's candidacy in Avalon.
Wells, however, denies the allegation, saying Ches Crosbie, a prominent personal injury lawyer, would have been a "credible candidate."
Ches Crosbie said he was told Tuesday by party officials that he wasn't the type of candidate the party is looking for to run in the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Avalon.
"The excuse they gave him — and it's ridiculous — [is] that a month or two ago at a lawyer meeting ... they were having a theatrical performance to raise money for the lawyers or their association, [and] he had performed or made a joke about something to do with Mike Duffy and the government," John Crosbie told CBC News.
On April 25, the younger Crosbie and other local lawyers tackled Shakespeare in Called to the Bard, in which he played MacHarper, who duelled MacDuffy. The theatrical performance for charity also included a jab at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright.
John Crosbie said he believes the skit is just an excuse to squash his son's chances in the riding of Avalon, and he points his finger directly at Wells, who was appointed to the senate in 2013.
"[Wells] likes being in control, as a result of the position he's now in. He likes to be in control of what's happening between Newfoundland and Ottawa, and control the money or where the money goes," John Crosbie said in an interview with CBC News on Thursday afternoon.
"He didn't want Ches to be elected as an MP in the district of Avalon or any federal district because he would be too independent-minded and he wouldn't be in control as he has been now for a couple of years of most of the transactions between Newfoundland and the federal government."
In a statement, Wells said he did not lobby to refuse Ches Crosbie as a candidate.
"I'm on record saying I'd much rather have a homegrown cabinet minister representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the table," Wells said.
"I am not part of the CPC candidate selection process and was as surprised as everyone else when I saw the media reports of Mr. Crosbie being declined as a candidate for the party."
Still, the older Crosbie is sticking to what he said, telling CBC News "these are sure the facts."
"This kind of trickery and knavery is not [the] traditional way that members of one party should deal with other members. This is despicable," John Crosbie said.
"I've observed for the last three or four months what's going on and his hand has been behind all of these attempts to delay having [a] nomination meeting in Avalon and to get himself in a stronger position because he wants to control what's going on between St. John's and [Ottawa]."
Meanwhile, Ches Crosbie, who said in a written statement he will not be appealing the party's decision, is vacationing in the United Kingdom and is unavailable for comment.
Now with the spot opened up, there's speculation as to who will run for the Conservatives in the riding currently held by Independent MP Scott Andrews.
Both Senator Fabian Manning and former provincial cabinet minister John Ottenheimer said Thursday they will not be seeking the candidacy.
The Conservative Party of Canada is not commenting on the decision to reject Crosbie as a candidate, adding that it is an internal party matter.