Aspiring PC party leadership contender Brad Cabana says he was threatened by a senior ministerial aide when he was thinking about running for the leadership.
Cabana said that Chick Cholock, executive assistant to Business Minister Ross Wiseman, came to his house Jan. 5 and said he shouldn’t run for leader.
“I can assure that his threats of personal destruction are very real,” Cabana said.
On the morning of Jan. 5, Cabana wrote an email addressed to every Tory member of the House of Assembly caucus asking for their support in signing his nomination papers.
Six Tory MHAs emailed back to say they wouldn’t sign his nomination papers, the other 37 said nothing.
That afternoon after he sent the email, his wife said she answered a call from Cholock, who was standing on their front porch.
Cholock came inside, and talked with Cabana and his wife about Cabana’s leadership prospects for over three hours.
Cabana says Cholock threatened them with character assassination, and said it would get so bad that the couple would get divorced.
“He comes in and he sits down and he says, ‘I’m going to tell you the way it is’” Cabana said. “‘ You’ve got no support and if you try to do this ... we’re going to go out and destroy your personal credibility.’”
After Cholock left, Cabana sent a second email to all the Tory MHAs, explaining what happened, and demanding an apology.
Less than a week later he filed his nomination papers.
Speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon, Wiseman confirmed his aide had visited Cabana, but he denied Cholock was there on official business.
“Any comments he would have made, he made on his own,” Wiseman said. “If he’s made a comment that’s threatening in any way, that’s inappropriate. If that’s been the case, then he needs to apologize for that.”
Wiseman said his understanding of the conversation was that Cholock explained challenging Premier Kathy Dunderdale would be a waste of time.
“Why would you come into a race when there’s not a chance of winning it?” Wiseman said. “This is kind of a waste of time.”
In late December, Cholock also emailed Cabana to say “in an ideal world there will not be a leadership challenge.”
One day after entering the race, the PC party ruled many of the signatures on Cabana’s nomination form were invalid because they did not come from party members. Cabana was disqualified from the race. He said his disqualification seems like the sort of opposition which Cholock promised.
“It certainly looks like it, I mean, doesn’t it?” Cabana said.
Leadership convention co-chairman Shawn Skinner said that’s simply not true.
“ There’s no wrong done here. There’s disappointment on Mr. Cabana’s part, and I understand that,” Skinner said.