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CBC Webpost, Monday, May 27, 2004

MP mystified by anti-merger suit

CBC staff

ST. JOHN'S ­ St. John's West MP Loyola Hearn says he's baffled by the support former Premier Brian Peckford is throwing behind a law suit that challenges the validity of the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.

The suit was filed by former federal PC cabinet Minister Sinclair Stevens last week.

"Why he suddenly got involved in this, I have no idea," says Hearn, who was a minister in Peckford's cabinet.

Peckford says the merger that created the Conservative Party of Canada violated the constitution of the Progressive Conservative party. He also says the chief electoral officer shouldn't have approved the union.

"We're saying we want an order quashing the decision to register the Conservative Party as a merged party, and restoring the Progressive Conservative party to a registered political party pursuant to the Canada Elections Act," Peckford says.

"It's certainly trying to close the barn door after the horse is out," Hearn says. "All of this was handled well with legal advice… as the new party was created, and this I guess is just somebody trying to… draw attention to the fact they feel disenfranchised."

Peckford says he and the other supporters of the legal challenge expect a ruling on just how well the merger was handled in a matter of weeks.

Hearn notes Peckford's brother Larry is seeking a federal Conservative nomination in Newfoundland and Labrador, "so it's certainly not something that runs in the family."

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