'It was a lie': Turfed PC candidate speaks out about allegations
Laffin says PCs cleared him of 'false accusations' 20 years ago, but party leader isn't sure that's accurate
The former Progressive Conservative candidate for the provincial byelection in Northside-Westmount who was dumped just before the deadline for nominations is speaking out about the eleventh-hour turn of events.
On Wednesday, the party turfed Danny Laffin, saying he failed to comply with the internal disclosure process. Neither the party nor Laffin has specified what he failed to disclose.
Laffin, who was acclaimed to represent the party in the Sept. 3 byelection, said in a statement released Thursday that the day after his acclamation, a member of the party made "false accusations" concerning him.
He said the party investigated the unspecified claim and found it to be false.
"To be completely transparent, 20 years ago when I ran for a provincial seat, this same allegation came forward," he said in the statement.
"At that time the party leader, Mr. [John] Hamm, and his office took the allegation very seriously and completed a full investigation and it was unfounded, it was a lie. They stood beside me and gave me their full support as their candidate for our riding of Cape Breton North."
Laffin wrote that he takes responsibility for not disclosing the allegation from 20 years ago.
"Looking back, it was a mistake made from being confident that the unfounded allegation which was cleared by the same party I have been involved with for well over 35 years was a closed issue."
Laffin said he has always taken the allegation seriously, and still does.
"Unfortunately, I have to accept that false accusations can be made without consequence except for those they are directed at."
Laffin could not be reached for further comment.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston said Thursday evening he only learned of the accusations in the last few days and began investigating.
PC leader can't confirm whether party previously investigated allegations
He said he couldn't confirm whether the party investigated the allegations 20 years ago, but said "I don't believe that that's accurate."
Houston said ultimately, it was Laffin's failure to disclose the accusations that prompted him to turf him.
"When a candidate is required to make disclosures, they're required to make disclosures. They don't get to pick and choose which incidents, which situations they disclose. The disclosures have to be full and complete. That wasn't the case here. The trust was broken and we're moving forward."
The Progressive Conservatives replaced Laffin with Murray Ryan.
In the statement, Laffin said he is running as an independent candidate, promising to "fight for you with every ounce of Cape Breton blood that I have in me."