TORONTO, March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) leadership race was “temporarily suspended” Thursday in response to calls for a delay because of the coronavirus epidemic.
One candidate in the running, pro-life and pro-family leadership candidate Derek Sloan, says it remains unclear whether or not the party will commit to delaying the vote for a new leader.
Sloan, who was particularly forceful in calls to suspend the leadership race earlier in the week, said the CPC’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) announcement does not delay the vote if one reads “the fine print.”
“LEOC now admits that, from today’s vantage point, there can be no June 27 ‘announcement’ of results. However, they have not committed to any delay of the voting!” Sloan said in a March 27 email to members.
“According to last night’s LEOC statement, people can still join the party up until May 15, but this still gives LEOC time to mail out ballots in late May and demand that the ballots be returned by late June.”
The CPC’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) announcement states that the party’s constitution specifically says “a mail ballot must be offered to hold this election.”
But the party says that due to concerns about the health and safety of its volunteers and staff, “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.”
Therefore, the CPC says the leadership election will be “suspended” until “there’s greater clarity on the outlook of returning to an operational standard that allows for a proper administration of the Leadership Election.”
In addition to suspending the leadership race, the CPC also announced that all candidate fundraising will be suspended until May 1 and that the membership deadline will be moved to May 15, 2020. The convention to be held at the end of June has also been canceled.
The CPC will not be processing any new donations, and “Verified Candidates will be asked and encouraged to refrain from contacting party members until after a decision is taken on May 1, 2020.”
In addition to Sloan, who has the backing of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the three other verified candidates in the running are pro-abortion Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, and CLC-backed Leslyn Lewis.
In his March 27 email, Sloan said that by restricting candidate activity, it gives McKay the upper hand.
“Here is the really scary news: LEOC has decided to severely restrict the activities of the various leadership candidates for the next five weeks, thus handing a huge advantage to the most well-known candidate and presumed front-runner, Peter MacKay,” Sloan said.
Sloan’s March 27 email said he supports the idea to temporarily suspend campaign fundraising, but that by asking this, LEOC should commit to confirming that the vote will be delayed.
“LEOC’s new scheme seems to be to silence discussion and then proceed with a June vote (if possible). This is unacceptable. The party needs to explicitly DELAY THE VOTE,” Sloan said.
He also noted that the LEOC has its priorities “backwards.”
“Eliminating the ‘campaigning’ part of the leadership contest but going forward with a vote is not the solution. Silencing the candidates is not the solution. LEOC has gotten this EXACTLY BACKWARDS.”
In an earlier email sent to his followers before yesterday’s CPC announcement, Sloan blasted the party for not acting in stopping the leadership race.
“Is it any wonder that people are so cynical about politics when politicians — like the politicians who control the Conservative Party — are as completely tone-deaf as the CPC has been thus far?”
Before yesterday’s announcement, four of the six applicants for leadership demanded that the CPC postpone the vote. Of the four official candidates on the ballot, only two, Sloan and O’Toole, loudly called the party to delay the vote.
Lewis, the only other pro-life candidate officially on the ballot, explained in a March 22 statement the reasoning why she did not call for the leadership race to be postponed.
“How you lead and manage a campaign in a time of crisis is very indicative of how you can lead the party, and more importantly, our country in a time of crisis,” Lewis said.
Sloan also called out McKay directly after he said the leadership vote should have been moved up instead of delayed, saying in a message that “Freedom and Democracy can’t wait!”
In speaking with LifeSiteNews about the “temporary suspension” of the leadership race, CLC political operations director Jack Fonseca said the delay is welcome.”
“CLC believes that it was a wise and prudent decision for the CPC to extend the leadership race,” he said. “As some candidates have been arguing, the minds of the Canadian public – including Conservative voters – have been preoccupied with the Wuhan virus and the disruption that it’s causing to their lives and the economy.”
“With an extension, hopefully it will allow CPC members more time to focus properly on the policy offerings, values and skills of the candidates.”
CLC has also backed Jim Karahalios to be on the ballot. He was recently banned from running for the leadership of the party and is now suing the Conservative Party of Canada so that he can be allowed to re-enter the race.
Karahalios filed an urgent request before the Ontario Superior Court to consider his application, and they approved it on Tuesday.
Fonseca noted that CLC, who has an active petition with 1,800 signatures demanding that the CPC reinstate Karahalios, is pleased he is going to court “in order to have his candidacy reinstated.”
“His unethical disqualification at the hands of red Tory progressives was an affront to democracy, and we cannot allow it to stand,” Fonseca said. “He broke no party rule. The establishment swamp simply didn’t want to take a chance that a true blue, social conservative might win, so they just removed him from the ballot, Jimmy Hoffa style.”
Fonseca added that CLC is also pleased that Lewis came to the defense of Karahalios and called on the party to reinstate his candidacy. “That shows integrity, which we definitely want in an Opposition Leader and Prime Minister.”