Potential candidates weighing their options
It’s getting down to the wire for PC party leadership aspirants, but right now, there’s still only one contender — Bill Barry — who’s definitively in the race.
Corner Brook resident Clarence Cantwell has also declared his intention to run.
But with nominations closing Friday, at least two potential candidates — former minister Shawn Skinner and current cabinet minister Steve Kent — are both collecting signatures and putting together a nomination package.
Both Kent and Skinner say they haven’t made a final decision, but with only a few days left, they’re pulling together the necessary nomination materials, just in case.
“I’ve probably made the decision a hundred times,” Skinner told The Telegram Monday.
“Fifty times I’ve woken up and said I’m doing it, and the other 50 times I’ve woken up and said I’m not doing it.”
He said he doesn’t expect a final decision to come until sometime Thursday.
Kent, similarly, sounded like a man who’s giving it serious thought, but he wasn’t ready to take the plunge just yet.
He didn’t want to talk policy with The Telegram, but he confirmed that he’s collecting nomination signatures and prepping a potential leadership bid.
He said when it comes to vision for the party, renewal and policy, that stuff will wait for later.
“The conversation that will ensue during the campaign is very much about the future of our province, and I look forward to building that future, whether it’s as a leadership candidate or as a member of caucus,” he said. “One way or another, I’ll be very active in the campaign, and I may very well be a candidate.”
Within political circles, a lot of the rumours and speculation swirled around west coast businessman Frank Coleman, who is reportedly considering a run at the leadership, but he’s being fairly media-shy about it.
The Telegram has left messages with Coleman’s office, but thus far he has not returned any calls.
Barry, the only candidate who’s filed his nomination papers, said he’d welcome Coleman getting into the race.
“I know Frank extremely well. I’ve known Frank since he was 10 years old. Frank is godfather to two of my children,” Barry said. “But, I mean, when something like this goes on, Frank has got his own determination as to what he wants to do, and that’s legitimately fine.”
Barry said that as the only confirmed candidate so far, he’s in a bit of a holding pattern now as he waits to see who his opponents are.
“You never really know somebody is in until they go file their nomination papers,” he said. “So, I mean, I’ve done that, and I guess we’ll just wait and see who else is in.”
Barry said he’s eager to get into the thick of campaigning, but if he doesn’t win the leadership, he won’t another avenue into politics.
He said if he’s not the leader, he won’t run for a seat in the House of Assembly.
“I’ve spent my entire life running a company and a big organization and a lot of people. I think that’s what I’m good at,” Barry said. “Honestly, for me, I feel that I have a contribution to make in the driver's seat. I’m not sure it work for me as an individual as a backbencher.”