CTV News | Top Stories - Breaking News - Top News Headlines
MacKay respects Tory leadership delay, after push to keep timelines
OTTAWA -- Tory leadership front-runner Peter MacKay says he respects the decision by the election organizing committee to postpone the contest, just hours after he doubled down on his call to speed the process up.
He tweeted that he and his team "respect the decision of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee," and went on to thank his supporters and those who’ve "engaged in the democratic leadership proces" over the last several weeks of campaigning.
This just shortly after MacKay appeared on CTV’s Power Play where he argued that he would reject any decision to postpone the race and questioned his competitors’ motivations calling for the organizing committee to push the contest back.
When host Evan Solomon suggested the COVID-19 pandemic was the impetus, MacKay responded “Is it?”
"Look, this is a competition," he said.
"The competition has being going on for some time now, all the rules have been the same for everyone, this has not been an advantage to anyone, we are midway through the process now, the final determination of the ballot has been made, we’re continuing on, it’s causing no harm."
The Conservative Party tweeted that the committee met Thursday evening and, after lengthy negotiations, decided to delay the leadership vote. There was no indication of a new timeline, except that they will revisit the matter on May 1.
"With all non-essential businesses now closed in Ontario and Quebec including our HQ, LEOC now finds that it is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count ballots in time for a June 27 announcement."
The statement didn't clarify whether candidates can continue to campaign during this period. Four candidates made it through the final checkpoint: MacKay, Leslyn Lewis, Erin O’Toole, and Derek Sloan. Each had to raise $200,000, put forward an additional $100,000 as a compliance fee, and gather 3,000 signatures from members.
O’Toole was vocal about his opposition to the committee’s inaction to shelving the June 27 date, releasing a video on Facebook Sunday, calling for all resources and support to be focused on family and community during this time.
Derek Sloan and two other contenders – Marlyn Gladu and Rudy Husny – who failed to make it through as "Verified Candidates" also penned a letter to the committee chairs, Lisa Raitt and Dan Nowlan, underlying the challenges they’ve faced trying to fundraise.
MacKay, on the other hand, argued that the Conservative Party needs a "strong" leader to reassure Canadians and challenge the Liberals pandemic response now more than ever.
By the end of the week, he changed his tune and is looking "forward with optimism to the journey forward to government for the Conservative Party of Canada."
O'Toole also weighed in, offering his thanks to the committee.
With files from CTV News' Rachel Gilmore