The Conservative Party suspends its leadership race in the face of the current crisis caused by COVID-19.
The election date for June 27 has been postponed, with the leadership organizing committee citing the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The committee, known as LEOC, made the decision at a long meeting Thursday evening, which came after days of pressure to act.
“With all non-essential businesses closed in Ontario and Quebec, including our head office, LEOC now finds that it is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count newsletters in time for a June 27 announcement, “the party said in a statement on Twitter.
Our Leadership Election Organization Committee (LEOC) met this evening to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the operational processes of Conservative leadership 2020. The question LEOC has always asked is whether the election of leaders may continue despite COVID-19 measures.
No new date has been selected. The party said it would reassess the situation on May 1.
In the meantime, the debates scheduled for April have been canceled and the April 17 deadline for registering new members has been extended to May 15.
The statement does not say whether candidates will still be allowed to officially campaign or organize events by the May 1 decision date.
The decision is made one day after the final deadline for qualifying candidates. They had to collect $ 300,000, submit 3,000 signatures and a long request.
Four candidates had reached this threshold and are on the ballot: Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, former Cabinet Minister Peter MacKay, former Cabinet Minister and current Member of Parliament Erin O’Toole, and the current member Derek Sloan.
But three others failed to qualify, citing major challenges in fundraising and securing supporters in recent weeks when traditional matches have been made impossible by social distancing protocols.
Marilyn Gladu, Rudy Husny and Rick Peterson had also all stated that it was simply inappropriate to ask people for money or to try to speak politically in the midst of a major national crisis.
The fact that the party only made its decision after the March 25 deadline caused an immediate backlash.
“You have completely dishonored our party. Shame on all of you,” said Georganne Burke, who led Gladu’s candidacy.
“Any leader elected through this process will have the stench of your rotten process on him.”
O’Toole and Sloan had also asked for the race to be postponed, as had several senior advisers both publicly and behind the scenes with the party.
Lewis had argued that deadlines had to be met, saying the new chief should be able to show that he could lead in a crisis.
Democracy at stake: MacKay
MacKay, however, argued for the deadline to be extended, citing the need for opposition Conservatives to have a new leader as soon as possible.
Earlier Thursday, he suggested that democracy itself was at stake if the race was delayed.
“Democracy does not nap or sleep, and like the media that continue to cover this story, opposition leaders and members of the opposition have an important role to play in holding the government to account. [and] to move forward with ideas, constructive ideas, “the former Conservative Defense Minister told CBC News Network. Power and politics.
MacKay told host Vassy Kapetoldlos that Canada held elections during the two world wars and the Great Depression, Canada held elections. He said that the United States Congress and the British Parliament are still active.
He said the Liberals’ recent attempts to get urgent tax and spending powers through the pandemic emergency stimulus bill this week have demonstrated why a permanent Leader of the Opposition is needed.
The attempt failed when the Conservative opposition, led by outgoing Conservative leader Scheer, refused to support the deal unless control of the stock market was limited in time by a sunset clause.
“Democracy requires that you have an effective, efficient and permanent Leader of the Opposition,” said MacKay, noting that Democrats in the United States are continuing their own leadership race.
MacKay was forced to defend his position after a number of posts on his Twitter thread urged Thursday to continue the race on schedule.