10 possible contenders as Conservatives plan leadership race
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, January 14, 2016 4:35PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 15, 2016 10:27AM EST
Conservative party insiders are meeting in Toronto Friday, to discuss the rules for finding their next leader.
Former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl told CTV Power Play he’s hoping the candidates will include people from both the east and the west, men and women, and a mix of experienced politicians and fresh faces.
Strahl said the new leader will need to be someone who can manage caucus, raise money, and raise the profile of the party as it renews its policy and style.
Although no one has publicly confirmed he or she will run, there are at least 10 possible contenders.
MP for Milton, Ont., Raitt has held top cabinet posts like transportation and has been given the high-profile job of finance critic.
Raitt told CTV Power Play two days after the election that the party needed to quickly figure out why it failed to “connect” with young women.
On Thursday, she told CTV Parliamentary Correspondent Richard Madan that she hasn’t yet decided whether she’ll run, “but I’m certainly interested.”
Raitt said the party’s “fundamentals that go back to Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty are still strong, which is that the way to manage this economy is through having lower taxes and ensuring long-term prosperity.”
Celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary may not have political experience, but he told CTV News Channel Thursday that he’s “floating trial balloons” for a vote he expects is 18 months away.
O’Leary said he would be a good candidate to run the country “because all I care about is the economy.”
The Bell Media on-air contributor has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump, but is distancing himself from the Republican hopeful who has made controversial remarks about Muslims, saying he is a “proud, inclusive Canadian.”
The Calgary MP held important portfolios in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, including national defence and multiculturalism, which he used to forge important connections and build the Conservative brand in Canada's ethnically diverse ridings.
Kenney has avoided directly addressing questions about whether he will run, but sources have told CTV Power Play host Don Martin that Kenney will mount a campaign.
At the same time, there’s a push among Alberta conservatives for Kenney to return home and lead a united right-wing party that could unseat Rachel Notley’s NDP in the next provincial election.
The MP for Beauce is from Quebec and speaks French, giving him an advantage over many of his potential competitors.
Bernier is one of only a few MPs who have talked openly about running. In December, he told the Huffington Post that he’s “testing the waters” of a campaign.
Bernier held the industry and foreign affairs portfolios under Harper, but was demoted after leaving secret documents at a girlfriend’s house.
The 35-year-old Calgary MP who has held junior cabinet positions wrote on Twitter, the day after the federal election, that her youth, meagre French-language skills and gender shouldn’t prevent her from leading.
“I am competent, proven, and ready,” she wrote. “Here's the question – are you ready for someone like me?"
The orthopedic pediatric surgeon turned MP for Simcoe-Grey in Ontario has served as the Minister of Labour and Minister for the Status of Women.
Although her name is not well-known, Leitch is said to have the “most organized campaign” so far, according to CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was rumoured to be learning French so that he could go for the top job, but he told CTV News after the election: "Ce n'est pas vrais… I’m not taking French lessons. I have the job I want."
Since then, Wall has often found himself representing the right on national issues.
For example, in November, he wrote a letter to Trudeau asking him to suspend Canada’s commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by New Year’s Day, to ensure national security isn’t compromised.
In the end, the Liberals did not meet their deadline, revising it to a lower goal of 10,000 by New Year’s Day, which they also failed to meet.
There’s a website, bradwallforpm.ca, ready to go.
The former Progressive Conservative leader and justice minister announced in May that he would not run again as an MP, so that he could instead turn his attention to his "young and growing family."
MacKay said, after the election, that the leadership is “not on the table."
“I didn't step back from politics with the desire to jump back in," he told CTV News. "But politics is something I grew up with, I grew up around and I will always watch very closely, follow what's happening and I'll always be a conservative.”
Still, MacKay has widespread name recognition, and topped an Ipsos Reid poll in December that asked Conservative supporters whom they would like to see lead the party.
The MP for the rural riding of Parry-Sound-Muskoka has held high-profile cabinet roles, including President of the Treasury Board.
Clement ran for the leadership of the Conservative party created from the merger of the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties in 2004, and came in third place after Belinda Stronach and Stephen Harper with 9.4 per cent of the vote.
The controversial former Toronto councillor has said he'd consider taking over for Stephen Harper if the opportunity arose.
With files from Christina Commisso