How many candidates can run for Conservative leader? Depends on time and rules

OTTAWA – So far, one candidate has decided to enter the newly formed Conservative Party leadership race and timing and rules will help determine how many others will end up in the vote.

Ottawa Area MP Pierre Poilievre on Saturday announced his intention to replace Erin O’Toole, who was forced out by members of Congress last week.

The statement comes before the party’s national council appoints a leadership election organizing committee, which sets the fees and signature requirements that candidates must meet in order to participate. race.

Rob Batherson, the party’s chairman, said the first thing to find out is the length of the race.

“My own view is that we have to strike a balance,” he said in a recent interview.

“Where is the moment that strikes the balance between bringing in a new leader in an uncertain minority government environment, while giving candidates and members a fair chance to participate?” participate in the democratic process?”

The party last searched for a new leader in 2020, after Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer announced in December 2019 that he would only stay in the job until a new leader is chosen. The race started next month and was expected to end in June, but the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March pushed voting back to mid-August 2020.

When it comes to time, the group is talking about the issue of the month. Batherson said he was confident a permanent leader would be replaced by the end of the year.

Shakir Chambers, a political strategist who helped Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives win the 2018 Ontario provincial election, said a federal election is unlikely to happen immediately, as So a longer race would allow for a larger debate over ideas.

Chambers said the entry requirements will also shape the race in terms of how many candidates, especially those planning to run on a single issue, throw their hats into the ring.

The less money and signatures needed to put a person’s name on the ballot, the greater the chance of generating more candidates to run for office. If entry requirements are higher, that could benefit those able to draw from an established support base.

“Will you meet an anti-lockdown candidate?” Chambers said. “An anti-establishment, anti-wake-up, anti-Trudeau candidate of the positioning type.”

In 2020, the party says candidates need to collect 3,000 signatures and pay a $300,000 registration fee.

Several Tories are watching to see if Peter MacKay, the former leader of the first Radical Conservatives and a Cabinet Minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, runs for re-election. He’s still paying off his campaign debts from when he ran for office in 2020.

A well-known figure in Conservative politics, MacKay won’t need to introduce himself to party members.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is another possible candidate. Brown, whose Tory political career is centered in Ontario, is also facing a mayoral race at the end of October.

Leslyn Lewis, the Ontario MP who finished third in the final race with significant backing from the party’s well-placed social conservatives, is another potential candidate. Another is Roman Baber, an independent Ontario MPP who is a staunch advocate against COVID-19 lockdowns.

Chambers said Poilievre’s earliest announcement showed he was serious and would likely threaten some other opponents that would otherwise join. Many Conservative MPs supported him.

But because the race hadn’t officially started yet, Poilievre was unable to start fundraising.

The early bird has started collecting the names of supporters who want to donate or buy a membership to vote for him later.

Before Poilievre announced, Batherson said the purchase of the membership had begun.

In the two days after O’Toole was forced out and news of a leadership race spread, he said there was a definite push towards joining the Conservative Party of Canada.

“I predict there will be a natural ups and downs as always in leadership races,” he said.

This Canadian Press report was first published on February 7, 2022.

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