Nfld. & Labrador

No full slate: Paul Davis admits it's a struggle to find PC candidates

With a nomination deadline 24 hours away, PC leader Paul Davis talked Thursday about how his party may not be able to find candidates for all districts.
Paul Davis is flanked by west coast candidates as he announces a forestry and agrifoods policy in Corner Brook. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

With a nomination deadline less than 24 hours away, PC leader Paul Davis is admitting his party may not be able to field a full slate of candidates.

"I was quite confident we were going to have a full slate. I can tell you I'm not as confident today," Davis said Thursday as he campaigned in the Corner Brook area.

As Davis spoke, there were six districts with no one on the ballot from the party that has been in power in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2003.  

"Coastal Labrador, in both districts, [has] been a challenge for us and while we have many people we've spoken this point in time we don't have a candidate in those two districts," said Davis.

 "People who have been interested in us have been swayed by a number of reasons and felt like it wasn't a good investment of their time or their energy at this point in time."

Besides Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair and Torngat Mountains, the PCs did not have a candidate in Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde, Burgeo-La Poile and Burin-Grand Bank as of Thursday.

The PC Party called for nominations in five districts on Thursday afternoon. 

This weekend, candidate Donald Slaney was forced to withdraw from the race in Burin-Grand Bank because of torn ligaments in a foot. 

Jack Owen Dreaddy who said he's been involved with the PC party since 2007, tweeted Thursday that he had applied to be the candidate in Gander, but hours later said things had changed because he didn't get the help he expected from the party to get nomination signatures and complete paperwork.

Deadline is Friday afternoon

The deadline for nominations is 2 p.m. NT on Friday.

The PC leader is all smiles after ordering breakfast in Corner Brook, but he admitted Thursday that the party is in stormy times. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

"We're not finished yet. We have 24 hours left," said Davis when asked if the party would appoint someone to run.

 "Let's wait until the deadline, before we have that discussion about what the options are."

Davis talked candidly about the uphill battle he has faced in this campaign.

"It's been a hard go for us, and when I put my hand up last year we were facing some very significant challenges. We're struck with the falling oil prices, significant drop in revenues. That impacts how we can operate as a government, and how we can develop and offer new programs and services," he said.

The hostility to Stephen Harper and the federal conservatives is also a factor, Davis admitted, calling it a "significant influence on voters."

While Davis said he's not giving up, he  conceded, "Certainly it's not an ideal place we have." 

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