Things got heated at Friday’s Windsor Lake candidates debate, after suggestions from PC Leader Ches Crosbie that Liberal candidate Paul Antle’s business dealings are too close to government.
“Mr. Antle is a) a Liberal candidate, and b) deeply involved in negotiations that also deeply involve the Liberal government of the province that he is the candidate for surrounding business deals in Marystown,” said Crosbie.
“The appropriateness of that is something your (readers) can judge for themselves.”
Antle, through his Pluto Investments, is currently working in partnership with Marbase Marystown Inc. to potentially lease the former Marystown Shipyard and turn it into an aquaculture operation.
Placentia West-Bellevue MHA Mark Browne has spoken repeatedly in support of Antle’s ownership of the shipyard, pressuring current owners Kiewit Offshore to sell its assets to Antle’s company.
Antle says Crosbie’s suggestions amount to slander.
“It’s not factual what he’s talking about. He’s being very slanderous with his comments,” said Antle.
“He doesn’t understand all of the issues that went around that particular matter. He’s making it personal. I thought the Crosbie family had more integrity, more honour. His father certainly did.”
Antle said he would leave the door open for legal action following Crosbie’s remarks.
“He’s a lawyer. He can interpret what I mean,” he said.
NDP candidate Kerri Claire Neil didn’t go as far as her opponents, but agrees there are questions to ask about the situation.
“I think it’s concerning that we would have a political figure that is potentially investing in a project that has government involvement,” she said.
“I think it’s really important that we have candidates that don’t have conflicts of interest.”