Bennett booted from Tory leadership for racially charged tweets

James
James McLeod
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Nascent Tory leadership candidate Wayne Bennett has been kicked out of the race by the party rules committee, for racially insensitive postings on Twitter and an endorsement of the NDP candidate in the upcoming Virginia Waters byelection.

Wayne Bennett. TC Media file photo.

Meanwhile, Bennett is accusing party insiders of hacking into his Internet accounts, and he’s made a  complaint to the RNC about cyber-bullying and harassment.

“Somebody is up to some skulduggery,” he told the Telegram Thursday. “I know, from the outside it looks very, very bizarre, of course.”

Bennett has been drawing media attention for weeks since he emerged as an unlikely contender for the PC party leadership — and by extension, the job of premier.

He came up with the $10,000 entry fee and necessary nomination signatures from party members, but after getting in the race, he started making outlandish claims about his Twitter account being hacked, and dark machinations within the party.

He endorsed Sheilagh O’Leary, who’s running for the NDP, as the best candidate in the Virgina Waters byelection, and he’s publicly criticized Tory candidate Danny Breen.

But it was comments comparing online critics to terrorists, and saying that Muslim women and children cannot be trusted, that seemed to be the tipping point.

Premier Tom Marshall and convention co-chair Tommy Williams both said they found the comments offensive.

In an emailed decision, the PC party said the situation was “serious and egregious,” particularly the racially discriminatory comments.

The party committee also noted that Bennett is standing by what he said and not apologizing for it.

“The Rules Committee concludes therefore that there is a high likelihood then that Mr. Bennett will continue to use the platform of the leadership campaign to express similar offensive commentary and engage in similar offensive behaviour.”

For that reason, the party’s ruling says, the appropriate move is to disqualify Bennett from the leadership race. Bennett will get his $10,000 back and he will no longer be an approved candidate in the race.

But he’s not going down without a fight; Bennett said he plans to appeal the ruling and, if necessary, he’ll go to court to stay in the leadership contest.

“There was no procedural fairness. I never got a chance to file a defence,” he said.

“Our next step is to seek an injunction in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to have this decision overturned based on the grounds of procedural fairness.”

The latest allegation from Bennett is that somebody within the PC party hacked into his Gmail account to delete emails which show that members of the PC party hacked into his Twitter account.

Bennett said his Twitter account was compromised by tech-savvy Tories to delete the racist tweets.

He has intimated that if the party continues to fight him, then he’ll have no choice but to reveal unspecified scandalous information about the inner workings of the Progressive Conservative party.

“I’m a party insider; if you want to play dirty, I’ll play dirty,” he said. “I’ll take the next measured response and start releasing the information.”

Bennett has already accused Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent of using an array of phony Twitter accounts in a co-ordinated effort to criticize him online.

Kent responded to a request for comment from The Telegram by saying, “Those allegations are too foolish to talk about further.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

 

 

•••

(Earlier story)

Wayne Bennett kicked out of Tory leadership race

Nascent Tory leadership candidate Wayne Bennett has been kicked out of the race by the party rules committee, for racially insensitive postings on Twitter and an endorsement of the NDP candidate in the upcoming Virginia Waters byelection.

Bennett has been drawing media attention for weeks since he emerged as an unlikely contender for the PC Party leadership — and by extension, the job of premier.

He came up with the $10,000 entry fee and necessary nomination signatures from party members, but after getting in the race, he stared making outlandish claims about his Twitter account being hacked, and dark machinations within the party.

He endorsed Sheilagh O'Leary, who's running for the NDP, as the best candidate in the Virgina Waters byelection, and he's publicly criticized Tory candidate Danny Breen.

But it was comments comparing online critics to terrorists, and saying that Muslim women and children cannot be trusted, that seemed to be the tipping point.

Premier Tom Marshall and convention co-chair Tommy Williams both said they found the comments offensive.

In an e-mailed statement, the PC Party said that the whole situation was “serious and egregious” particularly the racially discriminatory comments.

The party committee also noted that Bennett is still standing by what he said, and not apologizing for it.

“The Rules Committee concludes therefore that there is a high likelihood then that Mr. Bennett will continue to use the platform of the leadership campaign to express similar offensive commentary and engage in similar offensive behaviour.”

For that reason, the party's ruling says, the appropriate move is to disqualify Bennett from the leadership race.

Bennett has said that if that happened, he will challenge it in court.

Organizations: Tory, PC Party, NDP Rules Committee

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    April 03, 2014 - 18:27

    Mr. Bennett is the perfect reason why ALL leadership contenders must come from those already elected! What voter should be expected to vote for the likes of this? Since there are 3 in the running can I assume Mr. Bennett is one of the top 3 PCs in the province....God help us!

  • Kilgore Trout
    April 03, 2014 - 18:11

    I've seen and heard more from Wayne Bennett in the past few weeks than Barry or Coleman combined. Granted it's mostly been nonsense, but I can't help but wonder why the other two (and the party for that matter) haven't done anything to try and refocus this race back onto something remotely sensible. Shame on them.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 03, 2014 - 14:45

    Danno is still in charge. First he guts Barry now Bennett. Let the coronation begin. The back room boys have got their way.

    • More Like Corporate Jealousy
      April 04, 2014 - 08:10

      Someone's fixated on Danny boy.

  • whatajoke
    April 03, 2014 - 13:53

    remember who said "they should be all shot",referring to employees of eastern health. and tom marshall didn't find that offensive? i think tom marshall is a puppet on a string

  • KD
    April 03, 2014 - 13:37

    He should not have been allowed to contest the leadership in the beginning what a joke politics have become in NL Being a taxpayer of this province the least I can expect is to have professional people spend my money

  • jim bob
    April 03, 2014 - 13:33

    I think he should resign from council in the Town of Howley.

  • Harry
    April 03, 2014 - 13:20

    This party is full of controversy. Let's get rid of them all in the next general election and end this now. Vote no to Progressive Conservatives.

    • Too Funny
      April 03, 2014 - 14:53

      Including the ones that have taken over the Liberal party.

  • Marshall Art
    April 03, 2014 - 12:46

    Wayne Bennett, a PC, endorsed Sheilagh O'Leary, an NDP. So what ? Danny Breen, a PC, signed up as a Liberal supporter last year, and he's now got the full support of Danny Williams, no less, in his campaign. Bennett has criticized Danny Breen . So what? Former Premier Williams has criticized Bill Barry in his run for leadership of the PC party. Danny Williams is the puppeteer and he's pulling the strings of the puppets.

  • Jim
    April 03, 2014 - 11:25

    Mr. Bennett, go to the Liberals. They will welcome you with open arms!

  • fred
    April 03, 2014 - 11:14

    Oooooh. Brad Cabana 2????