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The federal Conservative Party says its membership has reached 678,708, a record for a Canadian political party.

The figure announced Friday is the final verified number in the race for party leadership, and is about 3,000 higher than a preliminary figure announced a month ago.

In a statement, the party said totals indicate that the most significant growth, by percentage, is in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Their are five candidates vying for the leadership. They are Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre, former Quebec premier Jean Charest and Roman Baber, a former Progressive Conservative member of the Ontario legislature.

Mr. Poilievre’s campaign has said that they have signed up about 311,000 members, with the campaign of disqualified candidate Patrick Brown saying they signed up about 150,000 members.

Mr. Brown’s name remains on the ballot given the timing of his departure over financial irregularities alleged by the party.

As the leadership race unofficially began in February, with the caucus voting out Erin O’Toole as leader, the party said it had about 160,000 members. Through to a June 3 deadline, leadership campaigns were signing up members they hoped would support them in voting.

The 678,708 figure compares with more than 269,000 people registered for the 2020 Conservative leadership race – a record for the party at that time. The party’s membership high was about 282,000 after the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives merged in 2003.

The Liberal Party had 294,002 members when Justin Trudeau was elected leader in 2013.

Conservative members are mailing in their completed ballots ahead of a Sept. 6 deadline and the Sept. 10 announcement in Ottawa of a winner. The party said in a statement that to date it has received 80,000 ballots for registration and verification by the professional services company Deloitte.

There will be no newsletter on Monday’s Civic Holiday.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


CONDOM USE CONDITION OF CONSENT: SUPREME COURT - The Supreme Court of Canada says sex with a condom is a different physical act than sex without one, and that the use of a condom can be a condition of consent under sexual-assault law. Story here.

PAPAL TOUR - Pope Francis is set to end his six-day tour of Canada that he has called a pilgrimage of penance with meetings in Quebec City and Iqaluit. Story here.

MINOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION REBELLION - Minor-hockey associations across the country have begun to rebel against Hockey Canada after learning that a portion of funds from players’ registration fees have been used to settle sexual-abuse claims. Story here.

UKRAINE EMBASSY SHUTTERED DESPITE PM VISIT - Nearly three months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Kyiv to officially reopen Ottawa’s embassy there, Canada’s diplomatic presence in the war-torn country’s capital remains shuttered. Story here from The National Post.

CANADIAN ECONOMY FLAT - The Canadian economy stayed flat in May, with real gross domestic product showing neither growth nor contraction after a 0.3-per-cent expansion in April, Statistics Canada reported Friday. Story here.

MAY WANTS TO LEAD GREENS AGAIN? - The Toronto Star says here that Elizabeth May is preparing to run for the leadership of the Green Party she led from 2006 to 2019. .

SENIOR MOUNTIE ADVISED NOT TO DISCUSS CALL - A senior Mountie told a public inquiry on Thursday that federal lawyers advised him not to disclose a call he received from the RCMP Commissioner that he says appeared to be motivated by a desire to use the Nova Scotia mass shooting to boost support for Liberal gun-control measures. Story here.

TORONTO MAYOR UNDER INTEGRITY INVESTIGATION - Toronto’s integrity commissioner is investigating the city’s mayor, John Tory, over an alleged conflict of interest relating to his ties to telecom, media and sports giant Rogers Communications Inc. Story here.

SCORN PROMPTS PEI PUB TO PULL TRUDEAU PHOTOS - A PEI pub has pulled photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from its social-media accounts after getting a barrage of hate-filled comments and phone calls. Story here from CBC.


CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is in St. John’s. Jean Charest is in British Columbia. Leslyn Lewis is in Lloydminster. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There is no word on the campaign whereabouts of Roman Baber.

LEWIS WITHDRAWS FROM LEADERSHIP DEBATE - Leslyn Lewis has pulled out of next week’s official Conservative Party leadership debate, meaning that only three of five candidates plan to show up. Story here.

KENT AT CENTRE ICE - Former environment minister Peter Kent has joined the advisory board of the Centre-Ice Conservatives organization, according to a tweet here. The group aims to give a voice to the centre right of Canada’s political spectrum.


The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

NG IN HALIFAX - International Trade Minister Mary Ng, in Halifax, holds a news conference on the Canada Digital Adoption Program.

PETITPAS TAYLOR IN REGINA - Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, in Regina, held a news conference with Saskatchewan Advanced Education Minister Gordon Wyant, at which she announced $7.1 million to support three projects related to postsecondary education in French in Saskatchewan.


New episodes of The Decibel are not being published on Fridays for the months of July and August. You can check previous episodes here.


“Private meetings” in the National Capital Region.


No schedules released for party leaders.


Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on a defence of the Deep State: why democratic rule doesn’t mean letting politicians run everything And yet this basic principle of democratic governance seems to elude a great many people – on both sides of the political divide. Whether it’s Conservatives proposing to override the Supreme Court or fire the Bank of Canada governor, or Liberals messing with an independent prosecutor – or, the scandal du jour, an RCMP investigation – supporters’ reaction to criticism is always the same: He’s the prime minister. He’s elected. They’re not. Who are these unelected elites – the gatekeepers, the Deep State and other epithets – to stand in the way of our elected leaders? So the prime minister ruffled a few bureaucratic feathers. That’s democracy. But this is to confuse democratic government with executive power.”

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on the words that Indigenous people are still waiting for Pope Francis to say on his apology tour: Indeed, despite his claimed “deep shame and sorrow”, Pope Francis’ words have felt hard to trust. In fact, even though he said that the church would “conduct a serious investigation into the facts of what took place in the past,” according to a Vatican translation of his Spanish speech into English, the Vatican now says that the word “investigation” was “lost in translation” and that he meant “search”. So while there might be humanity in Pope Francis’s words, it was parsed with a “very particular language that left out some very big things, especially the consideration for sexual abuse,” Natan Obed, the leader of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami – the political organization that represents 65,000 Inuit across Nunangat – told me. “I don’t recall him ever touching on the subject that has plagued this institution and the residential school system.”

Kristi Allain (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, if hockey is our game, then its history of violence is also our legacy - one that Canada must reckon with: We are at a moment of shame, sadness and anger, but also possibility – where we can imagine both the nation and its game as something better. We must let go of a system and a group of people who cannot see this project to the end, and open the door to new voices and new ways of framing, building and overseeing our national sport.”

Daniel Drache and Marc D. Frose (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre is the latest iteration in the long history of `Made in Canada’ populism: The Trudeau Liberals are edging toward the end of their governing life cycle and in politics timing is everything. A Poilievre Conservative majority government is no longer a long shot. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Johnson, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Narendra Modi, he stands a good chance of winning. Our national system of centrist pragmatism and multicultural diversity isn’t an inoculation against extremism, and the sooner we realize that the better. After all, populists are popular because they confidently sell simple solutions to complex problems.”

Kirsty Duncan (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why, as a former minister of sport, she has zero confidence in Hockey Canada’s leadership: “As an athlete, coach, and judge, I have devoted my life to protecting children involved in sports. I don’t want others to go through what I’ve gone through: As a child, I witnessed drunk, naked, gymnastics camp counsellors “partying” with adult coaches. I was frightened and shocked. It was so wrong. And I know personally what it feels like to be told to eat Jell-O, laxatives, toilet paper, and water pills to “make weight,” and to be repeatedly verbally abused by other coaches, judges, and parents. When I was asked to serve as Minister of Sport, I made it clear to officials from the outset that my priority was “safe sport” because organizations, coaches, judges, and others involved in the system had failed to protect young people.”

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