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Conservative party suspends leadership race following COVID concerns, calls from candidates

Conservatice Party Suspends Leadership Race Following COVID-19 Conerns, Calls From Candidates

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: COVID-19 concerns have led to the Conservative Party of Canada deciding to suspend their leadership race. The party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), decided on Thursday, March 26th. “With all non-essential businesses now closed in [Ontario and Quebec] including our [headquarters] LEOC now finds that it is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count ballots in time for a June 27 announcement,” read a statement on the party’s social media pages. “LEOC will continue to monitor developments and meet regularly to discuss options and has set May 1st, 2020 to return to do a fulsome re-evaluation of the dates and time needed to complete the race under the obligations of the constitution. The previously scheduled debates on April 17th and April 23rd, as well as the leadership event on June 27th, are all cancelled. LEOC will determine new dates after May 1st. Additionally, the membership deadline will be moved to May 15th.” Earlier this month, Durham MP and federal Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole asked the party to delay the leadership race. MP O’Toole posted a video on his Twitter account on Sunday, March 22nd, calling on the party’s leadership committee to delay the race due to the current situation with COVID-19. Mr. O’Toole explained the delay would “ensure that all time and resources of [the] Conservative caucus, and [their] grassroots members can be focused on helping [their] constituents and the needs of [their] communities in the fight against COVID-19.” Though he clarified he is not done running for the leadership, “I am not leaving the race, in fact, I believe we will win it. But today I am proposing that we put the needs of our fellow citizens first,” MP O’Toole explained. He also called on supporters to donate their resources to local community initiatives. The leadership race began earlier this year, following the resignation of current leader Andrew Scheer in December of 2019. The party’s leadership convention is scheduled for Saturday, June 27th.

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