Bill Barry has somewhat lessened his demands of how democratic a leadership selection process must be in order for him to enter the race.
Earlier this week, after premier-designate Frank Coleman withdrew from politics for family reasons, Barry said the process of selecting a Progressive Conservative leader would have to change for him to consider putting his name in again.
The fisheries tycoon also withdrew from the previous campaign, stating the race had been pre-determined by party insiders. Ministers and MHAs collectively and publicly backed Coleman for leader.
Barry said the leader should be determined by public ballot boxes, with anybody over the age of 18 allowed to vote. He also said anyone should be permitted to run, with no financial obligations required.
Wednesday, Barry said he has since learned a convention would be needed to change the party’s constitution pertaining to this process.
So, Barry says if delegates at a convention are not overly influenced by MHAs and party insiders, he may enter. It’s fine for people to support a candidate, he said, but not to canvass and solicit their constituents to vote for a certain person.
That, historically, has been how party politics has unfolded, he says.
“The old delegated convention process that really ties the delegates’ votes to the MHAs’ will, is not democratic,” he said. “As long as people are able to exercise their own free will genuinely, that is good for the process.”
Barry is now considering entering the new race. However, he said he also has to gauge whether there is at least some level of support from inside the party and government.
“If I ever did get the job, you can’t run a government by yourself,” he said. “You got to have people there who are willing and capable of not only working with you, but to step up to the plate to take on the challenges that are there to make this a better province to live in.”
Barry said he will see what the executive determines on how the process will unfold and eventually come to a decision.
However, it is not just him who is anxiously awaiting to see how this transpires, he said. People throughout the province, regardless of party affiliate, thought the process had some kind of flaw.
“If it is a feel-good process, then I will really give some serious consideration to my involvement,” he said. “If it is a feel-bad process, nobody will ever hear tell of Bill again.”