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Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on March 29, 2021.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has gained a high-profile Conservative in his bid to become federal party leader, but Alberta’s Michelle Rempel Garner was immediately targeted by a rival campaign for joining his team.

Over the weekend, the MP for Calgary Nose Hill for more than a decade was named national campaign co-chair for Mr. Brown.

Ms. Rempel Garner, parliamentary secretary to the environment minister and also minister of state for Western economic diversification when the Tories last governed, praised Mr. Brown for his work in the Greater Toronto Area.

She said Mr. Brown built a broad, multicultural, multifaith, values-driven coalition that the Conservatives need. She also highlighted his campaign platform, which she said is in tune with issues important to Western Canada.

“I know that the team Patrick is building will grow the Conservative party to a victory in the next federal election. Nothing unites Conservatives like winning a federal election. I’m proud to be part of this movement and I’m in it to win it,” Ms. Rempel Garner said in a statement issued by the Brown campaign.

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But her declaration drew an attack from Jenni Byrne, a prominent supporter for Brown rival Pierre Poilievre. She brought up past allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Brown, a former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

“You’re not from ON so maybe you don’t know Patrick’s past as leader of the PC Party of ON,” Ms. Byrne tweeted in response to a tweet from Ms. Rempel Garner on joining the Brown campaign.

“But as a woman and a self-described feminist supporting him is completely opposite of what you claim to advocate for.”

Mr. Brown resigned as party leader of the Ontario Tories in January, 2018, after CTV News aired allegations of sexual misconduct from two women during his time as an MP. He has denied the allegations and last week he and CTV reached a legal settlement, with the network expressing regrets that “key details” in its reporting were incorrect.

He was elected Brampton mayor in late 2018.

On Sunday, two more candidates, B.C. MP Marc Dalton and Ontario MP Scott Aitchison, entered the leadership race, which culminates with a vote on Sept. 10. Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis and Roman Baber, an independent member of the Ontario Legislature, are also running.

As Mr. Brown launched his leadership bid last weekend, Ms. Byrne tweeted a video attacking his credentials as an authentic Conservative, citing his shift in such policy areas as the federal carbon-pricing plan.

Mr. Brown’s campaign responded to Ms. Byrne’s tweet with a statement.

“Patrick Brown is running a campaign that is inclusive, that is designed to welcome everybody and grow our party. With regards to Pierre Poilievre’s campaign manager, those in glass houses should use caution when throwing stones.”

A spokesman for Mr. Poilievre’s campaign did not provide a response to Globe and Mail questions about Ms. Byrne’s tweet.

On CTV’s Question Period program broadcast Sunday, interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen called for a civil leadership race.

“I hope that the candidates, they criticize each other’s record, they criticize each other’s policy – I think that’s fair game, But I hope that they don’t say bad things about each other. Just like Ronald Reagan said, it’s not a good thing to say bad things about other conservatives.”

In a campaign kickoff statement and video, Mr. Dalton, the MP for Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge, said he would ease divisions in the country. He also said he would launch a national inquiry into the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Huntsville, Ont., Mr. Aitchison promised leadership to counter partisan bickering. Mr. Aitchison is the former mayor of Huntsville, and, like Mr. Dalton, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2019. He is the MP for Parry Sound–Muskoka and has been the Conservative’s labour critic.

“We need a leader who will respect all Conservatives,” Mr. Aitchison said. “Diversity of thought makes our party stronger, so long as we are prepared to respect each other. All Conservatives will have a genuine seat at the table under my leadership, and I invite all Canadians to join us.”

Candidates have until April. 19 to enter the race, and June 3 is the deadline for new party members to join and be eligible to vote for leader.

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