Skip to main content

Regina, Oct. 21, 2019: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's increasingly dejected supporters watch the federal election results come in at his campaign headquarters. The Conservatives' failure to unseat the Trudeau Liberals led to internal strife within the party and, in December, Mr. Scheer announced he would be stepping down as leader.

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Main contenders

Peter MacKay

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Who he is: Mr. MacKay, 54, was a Nova Scotia MP who led the old Progressive Conservative party and brokered its merger with the Canadian Alliance in the early 2000s. He served in some of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s top cabinet posts – foreign affairs, defence and justice – but decided not to run again in 2015′s election, which the Conservatives lost. He went to work at the Toronto law firm Baker McKenzie, but after (and even during) Andrew Scheer’s 2019 election campaign, his supporters were laying the groundwork to have Mr. MacKay challenge the leadership again. A few weeks after Mr. Scheer announced his plans to resign, Mr. MacKay tweeted “I’m in. Stay tuned,” and two weeks after that, he made it official at a launch event in Stellarton, N.S.

His team: Mr. MacKay hired former Conservative MP Alex Nuttall as campaign manager, and enlisted the services of Rubicon Strategy Inc., a government relations and marketing firm founded by Conservative strategist Kory Teneycke (who said he would remain neutral in the leadership contest).

His policies: Like Mr. Scheer, Mr. MacKay opposes the federal carbon tax, which the Trudeau government introduced in provinces that don’t have their own carbon-pricing or cap-and-trade regimes to bring greenhouse gas emissions down.

Story continues below advertisement

Erin O’Toole

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Who he is: Mr. O’Toole, 46, is a former military officer and lawyer who entered the House of Commons in a 2012 by-election for the Ontario riding of Durham. He was briefly Stephen Harper’s veterans’ affairs minister, and finished third in the 2017 race to replace Mr. Harper as leader. He launched his 2020 leadership campaign from Calgary on Jan. 27, appealing to the party’s western base to “unite Conservatives on the path to victory.”

His team: Mr. O’Toole’s campaign is being managed by Fred DeLorey, who also organized Mr. O’Toole’s leadership bid in 2017. Jeff Ballingall, founder of the far-right Ontario Proud and Canada Proud websites, is senior communications strategist.

His policies: He also opposes the carbon tax.

Marilyn Gladu

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Who she is: Ms. Gladu, 57, was a chemical engineer who won the Ontario seat of Sarnia-Lambton for the Conservatives in 2015, and was re-elected last year. In the House, she’s been the Conservatives’ critic for health and science. She was the first major entrant into the leadership race, on Jan. 9.

Her team: Her campaign manager is Georganne Burke, a veteran party organizer who worked on two different candidates’ campaigns (first Maxime Bernier, then Mr. Scheer) in the Conservatives’ last leadership contest.

Her policies: Before entering the race, Ms. Gladu said she didn’t think it would be “profitable to try to take away” the federal carbon tax, but later reversed herself, saying she would revoke it.

Other contenders

  • Richard Décarie: Mr. Harper’s deputy chief of staff when he was opposition leader. A social conservative, he has been condemned by other candidates for for telling CTV that being gay “is a choice.”
  • Jim Karahalios: An anti-carbon-tax activist and lawyer whose wife, Belinda Karahalios, is a rookie Progressive Conservative MPP in Ontario.
  • Clayton Knutzon: A former candidate for Alberta’s far-right Freedom Conservative Party, until the party dropped him in the 2019 provincial election for Islamophobic social-media posts.
  • Leslyn Lewis: A Toronto-based lawyer who ran unsuccessfully as a Conservative in a Scarborough riding in 2015′s federal election.
  • Rick Peterson: An Albertan businessman who’s tried for the leaderships of the B.C. Conservatives in 2014 and the federal party in 2016-17.
  • Aron Seal: Founder of the cannabis company Cfusion Inc. and a former policy adviser to the Harper government.
  • Bobby Singh: A Toronto businessman who ran for the Conservatives in 2019 in the same Scarborough riding as Ms. Lewis, and lost.
  • Derek Sloan: An Ontario lawyer elected to the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington last fall.

Who’s not running?

Former Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose.

Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Over three days in January, three high-profile candidates dropped out in quick succession. First was Quebec premier Jean Charest, who said he was tempted to join the race, but decided not to because of the personal and financial sacrifices required to pull together a campaign in only five months. Next was former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, who said in a social media video that she was instead “focused on making a difference through the private sector.” Ottawa-area MP and Harper-era cabinet minister Pierre Poilievre had organized a campaign team, but days before his scheduled formal announcement, he dropped out, saying he hadn’t realized how hard his candidacy would be on his family life.

Story continues below advertisement

What happens next? Key dates to watch

  • Feb. 27: This is the deadline for would-be candidates to pay a $25,000 installment of their registration fees and get 1,000 signatures from members in at least 30 different ridings, in at least seven different provinces or territories. More fees and signatures will get them access to the party’s membership list.
  • March 25: Candidates face another eligibility hurdle, this one requiring 3,000 signatures and the rest of their fees, adding up to $300,000. They’ll get $100,000 of that back after the leadership contest if they follow the rules.
  • April 17: New party members have to join by this date to be able to vote for the new leader.
  • June 27: The party holds a convention in Toronto to elect the leader.

More reading

On Andrew Scheer’s exit

Andrew Scheer’s exit as Conservative leader: A primer

Campbell Clark: Scheer’s postelection performance ensured his run as leader was beyond salvaging

The candidates: Commentary and analysis

Tom Flanagan: Now more than ever, Peter MacKay is the right choice for Conservative leader

John Ibbitson: Richard Décarie demonstrates why the National Capital Commission’s LGBTQ monument is needed

Policy questions

Adam Radwanski: With Scheer’s exit, will the Tories get serious about climate change?

Konrad Yakabuski: Do Canadian Conservatives even know what conservativism means any more?

Rita Trichur: Policy over populism: It’s time for a new Conservative leader to get serious about the business community

Regional questions

Conservative MPs look for a unifying leader amid simmering regional resentments

Kelly Cryderman: Next Tory leader may lie outside the Prairies


Compiled by Globe staff

With reports from Janice Dickson, Laura Stone, Marieke Walsh, Robert Fife and The Canadian Press

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies