Trevor Zinck levelled his strongest allegations yet at the NDP yesterday, saying the party has sparked a smear campaign against him.
Premier Darrell Dexter denied the charges, but wouldn’t hit back at the former NDP MLA. He described Zinck as “an individual who’s having a very, very difficult time.”
On the radio show Maritime Morning with Andrew Krystal on News 95.7, Zinck denied running up $10,000 in online gambling debt on his friend Scott Marshall’s credit card. He suggested Marshall’s mother, Helena MacLeod, was paid by the NDP to come forward about his gambling.
He said he believes Marshall was also pressured by the party.
MacLeod said yesterday she never spoke to the NDP and refuted Zinck’s allegations.
As first reported Friday in Metro, Zinck claimed he and Marshall gambled together, but he denied using Marshall’s credit card.
Zinck said he was kicked out of the party because they feared he would vote against the budget.
“We are all expendable at the price of Mr. Dexter,” he told Krystal.
Zinck admitted to past drinking and gambling issues, including gambling at the casino and one night having “a couple drinks” and running up $500 on his wife’s credit card. He said he’s sought counselling for those issues.
Dexter said no one from his party has any link to Marshall or his family.
He avoided criticizing his former colleague and said the NDP has tried to be tolerant and compassionate with its handling of Zinck.
“I would say that our caucus has been really extraordinary in its extension of as much compassion as possible to a person who we see as struggling through a difficult time,” said Dexter.
The premier said he believes people will see the inconsistencies in Zinck’s allegations, but wanted to give a humanist response rather than a political one.
“As, I guess, the target of these things, it still behooves us to take the higher road,” he said.
“Not to get engaged in name calling and pointing fingers.”
Trevor Zinck also said there was a group of discontented backbenchers who were rebelling within the party. Dexter said caucus discussions can get lively and there’s no shortage of opinions, but caucus always backs the majority view.