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A local journalist brought to my attention a story, which appeared today on vocm.com. Here is the full text of that story (I corrected a couple of typographical errors):

A man claiming to be contemplating a run at the Tory leadership doesn't like the process. The potential candidate, who prefers to be unnamed for the time being, says he has as much or more experience than Kathy Dunderdale. The man cites a lack of public notice and public disclosure as reasons for his displeasure, and goes so far as to call the process “rigged” and “perverted.”

Nominations opened Dec. 30 and close on Jan. 10. The potential candidates point out the Progressive Conservative office was closed for several of those days given the holiday schedule. He also says there are a $5,000 fee and a requirement of fifty party signatures to seek the party's top spot. All this, he suggests, makes it virtually impossible to apply for the PC leadership, unless they are already in.

He goes on to say that the stipulations virtually deny a common person the ability to enter the race. The man says he is unsure if he will actually run for the position and claims the current process is a “mockery’ and one that he says threatens the province’s democratic values.

It is passing strange that VOCM gives no clue, other than gender, of the person’s identity. For example, is he a member of the Tory caucus? If so, that would lend credence to the man’s complaint. In fact, it would be a bombshell. Is he a prominent local business person or opinion leader? That, too, would be interesting. However, with no information at all, we are left to assume that it was no one of any significance. Which gives rise to the question: Why bother reporting it at all?

This was put in a slightly funnier fashion by the journalist who brought it to my attention:

“A man claiming to be ‘contemplating’ is weak,” wrote my source. “I get calls from people claiming to talk to God, to see aliens, to have the cure for cancer. Did they check it out, ask the other side? Do they even know his name? Is he a big deal or some nutjob? It's not journalism.”

The above-quoted person, ironically enough, also requested anonymity. However, we do know it was a journalist, which adds important context and is more than VOCM told us about their source. 

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  • a real good ndp liberal tory
    January 10, 2011 - 18:36

    well well well;; two great big RED liberals rise to take the fly; the possible liberal candidte for humber west; and mr. w mclean; the great liberal blooger; i am flattered yes mr watton; my list is old and tired; just like your chances of winning in humber west against the PCs; i dont have any favours to exhange to get a new one; the latest bay of islands;humber st barbe baie verte list; i guess the liberals will have a grand old time now that mr. Cubana paid $5000 to get list of PC ex-ifficos; and sorta life members of the PC party; the liberals will be very busy photo copying that one; and passing it around i guess mr whatton; must be reading his own reviews in Bill Rowes book; cause nobody in cbrook knows who he is? one thing about it; mr whatton got the money behind him; from Daddy or Uncle Daddy; the resort owner; hahaha; what a joke what a joke

  • Mark Watton
    January 09, 2011 - 14:18

    ARGLT - you're confusing the Federal Liberal Party (which has membership) with the Provincial Liberal Party (which does not). I'd suggest the Bay of Islands list that you claim to have is probably several years old. The provincial party voted to abolish membership aroud 2003 or 2004. All of the rules concerning the recent provincial leadership race were made available to the public in May of last year. The press release, etc. is still online: http://url.ie/8sct

  • W McLean
    January 08, 2011 - 14:03

    ARGLT, why do you attach my name to remarks I didn't make?

  • sam
    January 08, 2011 - 13:13

    To enter into the PC leadership you have to pay $5000.00 and have 50 signatures of members of PC associations, ex officio, etc. For anyone taking this serious, it is not a big deal. In reality you have to have some standards set around having leadership nominations. Oh and Danny made his announcement on Dec 3rd, should be lots of time to raise $5000.00 and get 50 signatures...if not you were never in the ball game to begin with!! BTW...it is $10,000 with the Liberal Party and you have to get 100 signatures. Wonder why no one ran against Yvonne!! Oh yeah and now they are going behind closed doors trying to get rid of her...i guess some of the old brass must have combined to gather up the 10 grand! Oh the joys of politics in NL!!

  • Watcher
    January 08, 2011 - 08:21

    Why does the Telegram pay for these non-objective, partisan rants.

  • a real good liberal tory
    January 07, 2011 - 19:59

    well well; the liberal party in nfld got no membership fee or list; u gotta be joking (w. mclean); funny i gotta bay of islands liberal membership list; and a liberal constitution which states that only party members can vote in a nomination; and the liberal party of nl will decide the membership fee and also in last federal liberal nomination battle between Byrne and Bob Mercer's young fellow; in humber st barbe baie verte; u had to be on provincial liberal list in order to vote; good old liberals who were caught trying to be good old PCs; and were kicked out crying and bawling; cause they couldn't vote........it was hilarous; a laugh riot; and recent PC nominations that are wide open; u only gotta live in district to vote; winners of the Liberals Aiden Hennebury award voted in PC district nominations......again it was laugh riot; the open nomination period---big deal; Danny quit two months ago; if fellow gonna run; or lady; they had lot s of time to make u their minds thats a non starter.......funny nobody phoned; me and i am life time member......automatic delegate......not one call from any one interested in running......before or after Kathy D; decided to keep the job.......not a call

  • W McLean
    January 06, 2011 - 15:11

    Peter, the PC Constitution was, and is, elusive. The only portion I was able to find, with much difficulty, was the portion reproduced, governing the conduct of a convention. The rest, including provisions governing membership and vacancy in the leader's position, is still a mystery to me. I spose I could ASK them for it...

  • W McLean
    January 06, 2011 - 15:08

    VOCM's stories never last much more than a 24 to 48 hours on their site under the best of circumstances. It's not the expiry from the site itself that is interesting in this, or any other, case, but rather how quickly an article gets expired.

  • Simon Lono
    January 05, 2011 - 20:22

    @ Peter .. .. I`m glad you raised that: How can a party require 50 sigs of party members without actually having a membership system in place? Can you, or anyone else out there, confirm that there is a membership system in the PC party? I'm told that the NDP do for sure and I know the Lib party does not. If anybody wants to vote in a Lib nomination then no problem all comers are welcome. It was my understanding that the PCs run their nominations the same way: both are mass pop membershipless parties. Maybe that opens the door to saboteurs and maybe it doesn't; that's another issue. In the meantime, who gets to sign the nomination forms of anybody who wants to run for the leadership of the PC party? And, in a related question, would an acclaimed leader be subject to convention ratification? As I recall, Danny was though I stand to be corrected. Considering the PCs have been and are led and manned by the self-proclaimed cream of the NL legal establishment, they have left fairly critical questions of legal process related to leadership selection ambiguous and unresolved. Loopholes, you might call them. Mac trucked-sized ones, in fact.

  • Ed Hollett
    January 05, 2011 - 19:32

    Gee, Peter, I guess you didn't even get cornflakes for someone to pee in this morning. I asked a simple question. Why you decided to get nasty is something you'll have to sort out with your own conscience. In the interests of fairness, I thought people ought to speak about the whole range of coverage, not just one particular story. There's an interesting tale here that Geoff' is just touching on. Any time you would care to indicate what the Telly has done and will be doing to dig into this, feel free to let us all know. As for the constitution, Peter, you might profit by actually reading things. I said it wasn't available online. It isn't. If you then read the constitution you will note that the issue of membership isn't actually moot at all. It is part of the larger block of questions of how the party operates, how people may become members, whether or not that means anything in practice and so forth. These are questions that apply equally to all political parties, incidentally. So if, in this context, someone was out there with a form trying to find 50 members so that one could legitimately and with pure heart contest the leadership, how can one be assured that one had found 50 actual bona fide members that can't be challenged on procedural grounds? It's pretty easy to see how this sort of question may well go from being moot, as you so cavalierly dismiss it, to being a very significant question. come to think of it peter perhaps you don't need to tell us what the telly has done to cover the Tory leadership. you seem to have it all figured out in advance, along with all the rationales and excuses. Still, though, others might like to discuss other details. Along the way we might make the odd mistake or two but then again, that's to be expected whe people actually try. If you never actually report or discuss anything of substance, you can never get it wrong, can you?

  • Peter Jackson
    January 05, 2011 - 13:54

    Ed: Well, what the Tely hasn't done is get it wrong, as you did on your blog. A link to pertinent information was included with the nomination notice, when you said it wasn't. Your friend Wally (Labradore) seemed to find the PC Constitution pretty quickly, which you said it was elusive. And said constitution clearly states the requjrement of 50 signatures from party members, something you also questioned. If they didn't restrict endorsements to party members, it would leave room for saboteurs to muck things up. The only real deliberate obstacle I can see is the short time period. Most of the other stuff is moot.

  • Ed Hollett
    January 05, 2011 - 12:45

    Firstly, Geoff, VOCM regularly unpublishes all sorts of stories. The fact this one disappeared within a few hours says nothing about its accuracy. Secondly, your informant seems to be relying more on the poorly constructed sentence in the story than he or she ought to as well in order to question the source. What is more interesting in this particular case is the metamorphosis to which VOCM subjected the story before it disappeared. Part way through the evening it got the Skinner and Butler exchange added on, then the front end vanished entirely in favour of the Butler/Skinner exchange. Finally the whole thing went and wound up being replaced by the story that last only this morning of Skinner encouraging people to run for the Tory leadership. THAT bit seems to be in response to the potentially damaging story NTV ran last evening with a university professor criticizing the whole affair. Now if you really want to have a lively discussion, let's take a look at what the Telly and the Ceeb have done with the leadership story and any of its numerous twists and permutations.

  • Don
    January 05, 2011 - 11:04

    Is he a big deal or some nut job? That is the question isn't it? Regardless, a real investigative journalist would check out a story lead whether it was provided by a credible source or a nut job. Sometimes, the so called nut job knows more than the credible source. Only lazy journalists don't bother to check out a story regardless of its source. I was present in a Government office one day when a journalist called to inquire if a Cabinet Minister was using a helicopter to travel from St. John's to Carbonear instead of driving. The journalist told the person who answered the telephone call that this inquiry was based on information provided to the media by some local guy who everybody thought was a nut job with an axe to grind. To the journalists great surprise, the person in the Government office confirmed that in fact the Minister was using a helicopter to travel the 100 kms from St. John's to Carbonear. The cost of driving the Minister by car from St. John's to Carbonear would have been approximately $25. The cost of flying the Minister by helicopter from St. John's to Carbonear was approximately $2500. Later, that same journalist told me that the nut job called and informed him about the secret disposal of PCB contaminated waste at the New Harbour dump, informed him about the report on public water supply Trihalomethane contamination which Government had been sitting on for years, informed him about the Auditor General investigation into politicians on the take, informed him about the expropriation mistake involving Abitibi and many other similar stories. It appears that the nut job leaked many other stories with great accuracy to the media over the years. It turned out that the nut job informant is really somebody with connections in high places. I would say that more so called journalists should listen more closely to the so called nut job informants.

  • Peter Jackson
    January 05, 2011 - 10:05

    Geoff: Your post is quite balanced. There are two issues here. One is that the Tories have made it nigh on impossible for anyone to contend Dunderdale's coronation. The timeframe is too short and the fee and signature requirements are almost insurmountable. This is fact. The other issue is whether VOCM has actually found someone in this predicament. The sketchiness of their story is almost impossible to ignore, as you have amply demonstrated. And the story has dropped from their website now.

  • Doug Scott
    January 05, 2011 - 08:55

    Geoff: Interesting. I see the story is no longer on VOCM's website. However, there is a story quoting Shawn Skinner, the PC Party convention chairman, who is urging candidates to come forward. Looks like there will be a Coronation.

  • J.T.
    January 05, 2011 - 07:38

    Well done sir, you manged to take a swipe at two institutions of which you seem to have a bone to pick, VOCM and the Tories. Too bad NTV wasn't involved, it could have been a threesome.