N.S. PCs suddenly change candidate in Northside-Westmount byelection
Murray Ryan now PC candidate, Danny Laffin running as an independent in Sept. 3 byelection
The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party has made an eleventh-hour swap of candidates for the upcoming provincial byelection in Cape Breton's Northside-Westmount riding, removing Danny Laffin from the ballot over an alleged breach.
Leader Tim Houston said Laffin was removed as the PC candidate over a failure to comply with the party's internal disclosure process. It's unclear what Laffin allegedly failed to disclose.
"The initial vetting was completed and we've determined that the information that was provided to us in the way of candidate disclosures wasn't fully complied with," Houston said.
"This is not a situation that anyone envisioned. It's not a situation that anyone is happy about, but we're just going to move forward."
Laffin had been the Progressive Conservative candidate for the area, but was officially replaced by Murray Ryan on Wednesday, just before the deadline for candidates closed.
Laffin is still on the ballot as an independent candidate.
Laffin seeking legal counsel
He addressed the situation in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
"It is with heavy heart that I am resigning as your candidate from Northside-Westmount PC Party," said Laffin.
"More information will be released after we seek legal counsel."
His campaign website was removed and his name was taken off the PC website about an hour before his announcement.
Laffin did not return requests for comment Wednesday.
Ryan embraced opportunity
Ryan is a self-employed chartered professional accountant.
"He's a well-known guy with a good track record in business," Houston said.
"Three weeks from now, the byelection will be over.... It was a short byelection. It just got shorter for us, but we'll get behind the candidate."
Ryan said he was surprised to get a call from the party at the last minute.
"I wasn't left with much time to make a decision, so sometimes in life when those opportunities come to pass, you have to jump on it," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and what will come over the next 20 days."
Ryan had initially been set to contest the Northside-Westmount nomination against Laffin, but he changed his mind because he was concerned about his father's health.
"He's 100 years old, so every day is a gift," said Ryan.
"Since then he got out of hospital and he seems to be improving, so when I received a phone call this morning asking me if I'd revisit my original decision... it was an opportunity that I just wanted to embrace."
Health care a hot topic
Ryan, who said his only political experience was running for a Nova Scotia Liberal nomination about nine years ago, said health care is his No. 1 priority.
"There's challenges all over the province, but I've experienced firsthand, in relation to my father, the challenges," said Ryan.
"The frontline workers are absolutely phenomenal, but they're overworked. They're maxed out, and I just think I can bring some fresh ideas to the table."
The Northside-Westmount byelection is one of three provincial byelections being held next month. The other two are for the ridings of Argyle-Barrington and Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.
Election day for all three ridings is Sept. 3.
The openings at Province House came after PC MLAs Chris d'Entremont, Alfie MacLeod and Eddie Orrell resigned their seats to focus on campaigning for the upcoming federal election.
The candidates running in the Northside-Westmount byelection are:
- Thomas Bethell, Atlantica Party.
- Ronald Crowther, Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.
- Andrew Doyle, Independent.
- Danny Laffin, Independent.
- Ron G. Parker, Green Party of Nova Scotia.
- Paul Ratchford, Nova Scotia Liberal Party.
- Murray Ryan, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party.
The candidates running in the Argyle-Barrington byelection are:
- Charlene I. LeBlanc, Nova Scotia Liberal Party.
- Colton F. LeBlanc, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party.
- Adam Randall, Green Party of Nova Scotia.
- Robin C. Smith, Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.
The candidates running in the Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg byelection are:
- Marc Botte, Nova Scotia Liberal Party.
- Brian Comer, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party.
- Russ Green, Independent.
- Mary Beth MacDonald, Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.
- Bill Matheson, Green Party of Nova Scotia.
With files from Tom Ayers