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explainer

The Conservative convention in Halifax in 2018.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

For the third time in seven years, federal Conservatives are choosing a new leader – and after MPs revolted against the last one, Erin O’Toole, finding someone who can bring the party together will be a challenge. The window is closed for new candidates to declare themselves, leaving six people in the race, and we won’t know which one wins until Sept. 10. Check back here for the latest information on the campaign and the issues at stake.


Who’s entered and left the race so far

Confirmed Conservative leadership candidates

Patrick Brown at his campaign launch in Brampton, Ont.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Patrick Brown

The current mayor of Brampton, Ont., Mr. Brown is a former federal Conservative MP, and was the Ontario Progressive Conservative leader from 2015 to 2018, when he quit as he faced sexual-misconduct allegations that he strongly denied.

He launched his campaign with a 25-minute address in Brampton on March 13 where he underscored his potential to help the Conservative Party make inroads in urban and suburban Canada.

Jean Charest at his March 10 campaign launch in Calgary.Todd Korol/Reuters

Jean Charest

A Mulroney-era cabinet minister who led the Progressive Conservatives from 1993 to 1998, Mr. Charest then switched to Quebec’s provincial Liberals, serving as premier of Quebec for nine years. He’s been out of politics since 2012′s student protests in Quebec helped the Parti Québécois unseat the Liberals.

As premier, Mr. Charest introduced a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, but in the private sector he’s also built strong connections to Alberta’s oil-and-gas sector and was adviser to the company that sought to build the contentious Energy East pipeline. His March 10 campaign launch was a dual event in Montreal and Calgary.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre.Blair Gable/Reuters

Pierre Poilievre

The MP for Ottawa’s Carleton riding was first to announce his intention to run, only three days after Mr. O’Toole’s ouster.

He’s long positioned himself to the right of Mr. O’Toole, appealing directly to the public with social-media videos and slogans separate from the party’s. He was one of the most prominent Conservatives to support the convoy protesters who blockaded downtown Ottawa this past February, whose manifesto effectively called for overthrowing the government.

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Leslyn Lewis

A former Bay Street lawyer, Ms. Lewis appealed to the social-conservative vote in 2020′s leadership race and managed to come in third. She won the Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk last fall and is one of the few Black MPs currently in the House.

She’s also been outspoken about the rights of Canadians who don’t want to declare whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, and has refused to confirm her own status.

Ontario MPP Roman Baber.Roman Baber campaign/CP

Roman Baber

Mr. Baber represents the Toronto riding of York Centre in the Ontario legislature. He sat as a Progressive Conservative until January of last year, when his criticism of Premier Doug Ford’s COVID-19 restrictions at the time got him booted from caucus and barred from running for the PCs again in June’s provincial election.

MP Scott Aitchison.Scott Aitchison Leadership Media Team/CP

Scott Aitchison

Mr. Aitchison is MP for Ontario’s Parry Sound-Muskoka riding and a former mayor of Huntsville, Ont. He launched his campaign on March 20.

Who’s dropped out
  • Leona Alleslev: The former Ontario MP, who served as ex-leader Andrew Scheer’s deputy, didn’t meet the April fundraising deadline and dropped out.
  • Joseph Bourgault: The CEO of a farm-equipment company in Saskatchewan, Mr. Bourgault was disqualified by the organizing committee, though he had said he met their deadline for fundraising and signatures. He is co-founder of Canadians for Truth, Freedom and Justice, a group that claims governments and “globalists” are using the pandemic to “justify the great reset.”
  • Marc Dalton: The MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, B.C., who was championed by the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, missed the fundraising deadline and bowed out.
  • Joel Etienne: The Conservative candidate for York Centre in the 2021 federal election was also disqualified by the organizing committee.
  • Grant Abraham: A consultant from B.C. who ran for a Northern Irish seat in Britain’s parliamentary elections in 2019, but was disqualified from the Conservative race.
Who ruled out running early on

Conservative MP Michael Chong.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

  • Michael Chong: Conservative MP who spearheaded the Reform Act. He says he’d prefer to keep his focus on foreign policy, his shadow-cabinet role, instead of running for leader.
  • Peter MacKay: A Harper-era cabinet minister who ran and lost for the leadership to Mr. O’Toole in 2020. He says he won’t run this time.
  • Rona Ambrose: Former interim Conservative leader who’s ruled out a candidacy.
  • Doug Ford: Ontario Premier who says “my hands are full” with June’s provincial election.
  • Jason Kenney: Alberta Premier who says the position is “not of any interest to me.”
  • Brad Wall: Former Saskatchewan premier who says he’s happy with his current private-sector job.
  • Tasha Kheiriddin: A political commentator who’s supporting Mr. Charest.

Why are the Conservatives replacing Erin O’Toole?

Former Conservative leader Erin OToole.GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images

A Conservative leadership race in 2022 wasn’t something Mr. O’Toole wanted to happen. He was ousted on Feb. 2 after dissident MPs in the party’s right wing – unhappy with Mr. O’Toole’s apparent moves to the centre on issues such as conversion therapy, deficits and climate change – triggered a leadership review under the rules of 2013′s Reform Act. A 73-45 vote removed him from an office he had held for less than 18 months. For his interim replacement, they chose Candice Bergen, who had been making some sympathetic overtures to the antigovernment protests that were then paralyzing downtown Ottawa.

When is the Conservative leadership race? Dates to watch

  • June 3: Deadline for new party members to join and be eligible to vote for leader.
  • Late July and early August: Ballots mailed to party members.
  • Sept. 10: New leader announced.

Conservative leadership race: More from The Globe and Mail

The Decibel

Erin O’Toole is out as Conservative leader, but who will take his place? Chief political writer Campbell Clark explains who the early favourites are. Subscribe for more episodes.

On the candidates

Jean Charest says he’s not afraid of a tough battle for Conservative leadership

Campbell Clark: Accusations of un-Conservatism divide party’s early race

John Ibbitson: Conservative leadership is Poilievre’s to lose, unless the party broadens its support

On the issues

Lisa Raitt and Jim Dinning: Conservatives need a climate plan that will position Canada for a future of clean growth

Adam Radwanski: High-profile Conservatives launch bid to convince party leaders that climate policy matters

John Ibbitson: Conservative leadership convention is shaping up to be a competition for the party’s soul

Globe editorials

To save the Conservative Party, open the membership doors wide

On climate change, are the Conservatives about to make the same mistakes again?

The Reform Act has empowered (some) MPs, but more needs to be done to reform Canadian politics


Compiled by Globe staff

The Canadian Press, with reports from Ian Bailey, Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh