N.S. Tories suspend local executive over lack of support for byelection candidate

It seems blood is thicker than politics, at least in the Tory electoral district association for Northside-Westmount.

The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party's executive passed a motion last week to suspend the party's Northside-Westmount association executive because it offered no support on behalf of Murray Ryan, the party's candidate in the recent byelection.

"So in effect, they have no authority to meet, carry on any activities, access any funds held by the association and we notified them of that," said Jim David, the party's provincial director.

David said the problems started after the party fired its first candidate, Danny Laffin, for reasons neither the party nor Laffin ever made clear. Ryan, who would go on to win the byelection, was drafted at the last moment to represent the party.

The lack of support for Ryan could have something to do with the local executive's ties to Laffin — the president is Shirley Laffin, Danny Laffin's mother.

"It's fair to say that the president certainly didn't come on board," said David. "There was no support during the byelection post-Aug. 14 and we have to address that issue."

Results speak for themselves

The suspension is for up to six months to allow a "cooling off period," and David said during that time there will be an annual meeting, which would have been required at some point anyway, where a new executive will be established.

Although Danny Laffin received funds from the party while he was the candidate of record in the byelection, David said there is no evidence to suggest party funds went to him via the local association after he was dropped by the party.

David said the issue isn't with the entire association, and he expects there will be plenty of local support to help Ryan as he begins working as the new MLA.

"You don't win a campaign without having a lot of support and, you know, the results of the election showed we do have support down there," he said.

"We have a new MLA and we're thankful for that. We just want to make his transition and his journey easier from the standpoint of organization."

Neither Shirley Laffin or Danny Laffin could be reached for comment Friday.

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