Rules adopted for the federal Conservative leadership race to replace Erin O’Toole are good news for prospective candidate Jean Charest, says a spokesperson for the former Quebec premier.
On Thursday, the Conservative Party confirmed that the next leader will be announced on Sept. 10. The cut-off for new members is on June 3.
“We’re very happy that a final date is in September because that gives us lots of time over the summer to reintroduce Jean into the existing membership, and capitalize on new members we and other candidates bring into the party,” Mike Coates, an adviser to Mr. Charest, said in an interview.
Mr. Charest, 63, has been in Ottawa for the past two days meeting with Tory MPs and senators.
Almost 50 attended a gathering with Mr. Charest on Wednesday night, and 15 MPs were scheduled to meet with him on Thursday.
Mr. Charest served briefly as deputy prime minister under Kim Campbell and was leader of the opposition Progressive Conservatives from 1993 to 1998. He was then recruited to take over the Quebec Liberal Party and challenge the separatist threat posed by Parti Québécois premier Lucien Bouchard.
Mr. Coates said Mr. Charest will consider the rules, the feedback he has received and make a final decision soon on how to proceed.
However, The Globe and Mail has reported that Mr. Charest plans to run and will make an announcement in a week.
The complete set of rules are to be released later this week, but the announcement Thursday sketches out the basics of the race ahead.
At this point, the only candidate officially in the race is Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre.
On Thursday, Mr. Poilievre was campaigning in Saskatoon, and then was headed for Regina on Friday before returning home to Ottawa.
Anthony Koch, a spokesman for the Poilievre campaign, said that while there are details to come in the final version of the rules, the campaign is pleased that the basic structure is in place. It is particularly excited about a June 3 cut-off for memberships that the campaign expects will allow it to sign up thousands of members.
Prospective candidates have until April 19 to apply to enter the leadership election.
They will have to pay a total entry fee of $200,000, plus a compliance deposit of $100,000 refundable after the leadership election is concluded. These costs are the same as in the 2020 leadership election that saw Mr. O’Toole win.
After membership applications are submitted on June. 3, party staff will take several weeks to verify their eligibility, followed by time for leadership campaigns to also examine the proposed final voter list for accuracy.
Ballots will be mailed to party members in late July and early August.
The rules were created over three meetings of the party’s appointed Leadership Election Organizing Committee since it was appointed Feb. 16.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., said the mayor is pleased that the rules allow for an extended membership sign-up period. Mr. Brown, a former Conservative MP and leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, is considering a leadership bid
“He believes that the party needs to be open for all Canadians of every walk of life to join and participate in this election,” Gary Collins, a director of communications for the mayor, said in a statement.
“He has not made a decision to run yet, but he hopes to make a decision soon after consulting with family, friends and Brampton residents.”
Commentator Tasha Kheiriddin, who has been considering a leadership bid, said in a statement that the dates “are a positive development” in the race. But, she added, the final rules are not out, and it’s necessary to take all elements into consideration.
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