PC party moves to sanction leadership candidate

James
James McLeod
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Wayne Bennett claims his account was hacked

The PC party is moving towards potentially disqualifying one of the three candidates from the party leadership race for allegedly racist comments made on Twitter.

Wayne Bennett

Howley town councillor Wayne Bennett was always considered a dark horse for the leadership, before he made a splash on social media.

He’s endorsed New Democrat Sheilagh O’Leary over the Tory candidate in the upcoming Virginia Waters byelection, and he’s claimed that members of the PC party have hacked his Twitter account, threatened his life, refused to give him a 42 inch flat screen TV and failed to wish him a Merry Christmas.

But it was the postings on Friday, when he started talking about Muslim women and children that took things to another level.

Bennett said people on Twitter criticizing him were actually covert agents for the PC party, and he compared those people to terrorists.

Much of the criticism was coming from young Tories, including fairly well-known members of the social media community, but Bennett said their comments were still not to be taken at face value.

“Anyone can be a troll, including youth #nlpoli,” he wrote. “We used to trust Muslim women and children: not now.”

In response to criticism, Bennett again took to Twitter to defend himself.

“It is not racist: ask a (Canadian Forces) mother who’s son was blown up by trusting a Muslim female hiding a bomb.”

The postings have since been deleted, but several people archived them before they were taken down.

Tommy Williams, one of the two co-chairs of the PC leadership convention, said that they’ve done an investigation and handed their evidence over to the party’s rules committee.

What’s more, Bennett now says that it wasn’t him who deleted the tweets; he says that his account must have been hacked by agents for the PC party.

“I didn’t delete anything; I have not deleted one thing,” he said. “Somebody has hacked into my account again.”

Bennett said he believes that Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent is the online criticism, using fake social media accounts to make attacks anonymously.

The PC party rules committee could fine Bennett, sanction him or throw him out of the race.

Williams said that he doesn’t like what Bennett is saying, but he doesn’t think it reflects on the party.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Bennett has brought this kind of attention on himself,” Williams said. “It’s just that the issues that arose on Friday are of a very significant concern to both the premier and the party as a whole.”

He said Bennett’s comments are completely out of line with Progressive Conservative values.

“We find them to be offensive to be quite honest,” he said.

Even Premier Tom Marshall weighed in, telling reporters Monday that he thinks Bennett’s comments are out of line.

“The comments about not trusting Muslim women and children, I find that offensive,” Marshall said. “That comment in itself, I think it’s offensive to all of us.”

The rules committee is expected to come up with a decision by the end of the week.

Bennett did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

But on Twitter, he’s said that if the party does throw him out of the race, he’ll immediately challenge that decision in court.

But through it all, Bennett said he believes that the fiasco hasn’t diminished his chances of winning the PC party leadership.

“I think I’ve got a better chance now than I had yesterday,” he said. “People are fed up with how the PC party are conducting themselves in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. They’re fed up with the shenanigans.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Tory, Canadian Forces

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Recent comments

  • Too Funny
    April 01, 2014 - 08:19

    "“I think I’ve got a better chance now than I had yesterday,” . Clueless, totally clueless.

  • Cashin Delaney
    April 01, 2014 - 00:53

    This is religious bigotry. How is it racism? How do we know what race the imaginary Muslims in Bennetts mind were? We are one race on the planet, Homo Sapiens. I believe The Telegram needs to check itself at the door, and not be lead by the nose, by game-playing politicos. James Mcleod knows the difference by now, the old Hansard-addict. This is similar to Felix Collins denigrating the poor/rightless countries (third-worldism), with whats-her-name (the third party leader we don't talk about anymore) charging him with the essence of racism. Yes, Wayne Bennett is a complete knob, shmuck, and putz and also has been rubbing his pious church-going (signifying) Christianity in peoples Twit-Faces. Leave it as it is, and it is just a waste of $10,000 and some very good infotainment. Let the professional Twits police themselves, Lord Almighty & Allah knows they have given him the public gears over this. Keep up the Tely-racist coverage though, and we wonder whether the $10,000 really bought {CENSORED} some free paper chafe. Like the chafe from Felix that sent the Centre for Law and Democracy off to another target. Dunderdale quoted scripture on the way out the door (or was it just a Pete Seeger song? RIP), and Marshall (Justice, Justice) on the way in. Muslim is not a homogeneous race, it is a major world religion. Most of us realize this. So, Bennett is a $10000 distracto-meatpuppet. Who paid for it? To what end? Bennett may hate Arabic people, but lets wait for him to say it, and not attack him at the convenience of Danny's little Brother, on the week their Mom appears in the paper! Attack him for being a religious tool. Oh, wait, then we have to tell our AG, our Premier to frig off with the Almighty God name-dropping too...

  • Graham
    March 31, 2014 - 21:04

    Great to see the PC party is attracting such great people with little or no political experience and who only have an interest in being Premier for a few months. Its as usual all about them and not about us. Two businessmen who now want to feather their own nest like Danny Williams did while he was there These two are in a conflict of interest from day one especially Coleman. Oh well enjoy it while it lasts boys because If you do get elected you will be leader of Her Majesties Loyal Opposition after the next election anyway.

  • Corporate Psycho
    March 31, 2014 - 17:00

    At least you can't call him a Danny boy.

  • Chris McKerracher
    March 31, 2014 - 16:06

    Those types of comments won't get you censured in the PQ. In fact, you will be lauded. It is a credit to the PC party of NL they are sanctioning this man.

  • holly smokes...
    March 31, 2014 - 15:30

    Mr. Bennet...........seek help......PLEASE!!!!!

  • John
    March 31, 2014 - 14:44

    Its obvious he is not interested in governing, leading a party or being an effective agent of change. He seems to be drawing attention to items that are of a personal interest, and not in the best intentions or minds of NLers??Why?

  • Too Funny
    March 31, 2014 - 14:22

    "he’s said that if the party does throw him out of the race, he’ll immediately challenge that decision in court." Uh huh, not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  • flexxa
    March 31, 2014 - 11:37

    ...Twitter" from the word TWIT. Smart phones enabling "dumb" comments. When will the politicians learn? Probably never.

  • Conflict of Interest is a crminal offence!
    March 31, 2014 - 11:22

    Another critical matter that needs to be addressed by our government is "Conflict of Interest". It appears to have been rampant over the past 20 years. It is only the past 20 years that I have been observing what is transpiring in government, before that I thought our politicians were God-like and I didn't need to monitor anything to do with our government. I do suspect though it has been going on since the beginning of government here. I hope our present politicians decide to do away with this corrupt way of governance. It is also quite plain to see that nepotism and cronism is rampant in our government as well. Our government leaders should now know we are a much more aware electorate than we were in the past and we can see more clearly through all smoke and mirrors that get floated to obscure matters. Also our News Media appear to be more honest and they seem to want to shine more light on what has transpired in our province and what is presently transpiring. If we had open and transparent governance and media service over the past 65 years, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador could have been the greatest economy in the whole of Canada.

  • Son of Cabana
    March 31, 2014 - 11:16

    Some people have too much money to wasre.

  • Kilgore Trout
    March 31, 2014 - 10:56

    Must be nice having $10K to burn on what essentially is some kind of weird ego trip.What the party, the media and the public needs to do it just ignore this person.