Canadian conservative slams party for exclusion from leadership race

Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown announces that he is entering the race for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party, at his first campaign event in Brampton, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

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OTTAWA, July 6 (Reuters) – One of the top contenders in Canada’s Conservative Party leadership contest, Patrick Brown, on Wednesday slammed a decision to disqualify him from the race as “corrupt” and said he was consulting his legal team about what to do next.

Late on Tuesday, the party disqualified Brown citing “serious allegations of wrongdoing” of campaign finance rules, according to a statement.

The party said it would share its information with the country’s elections watchdog after the Brown campaign “did not satisfy concerns” about compliance.

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Brown responded on Wednesday by saying the party still had not told him what the allegations were.

He said his campaign had been asked about an anonymous allegation that someone was being paid by a corporation to work on his campaign, which his campaign denied.

“I did nothing wrong in my campaign. My campaign did nothing wrong,” Brown said in an interview with broadcaster CTV, adding that the party wanted to favor his rival, frontrunner Pierre Poilievre. “Clearly the party establishment wanted Pierre… This is politically corrupt.”

Brown is currently mayor of Brampton, a city in Ontario near Toronto. He has had controversy in his political career, including stepping down as the Progressive Conservative leader of Ontario in 2018 to defend himself against allegations of sexual misconduct that were never proven.

Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was ousted in February after losing last year’s general election to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. O’Toole’s ejection from the party came after he was accused of not fully embracing massive protests against the government’s COVID-19 vaccination policies. read more

Since then, Poilievre – who was a vocal supporter of the protests – has emerged as the frontrunner by attacking the central bank and government for failing to contain inflation, and promising to embrace cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin if elected. read more

In a Leger poll published last month, Brown was in third place with just 4% of Conservative voters saying he was their top choice, compared to 44% for Poilievre. Jean Charest was in second place with 14%, according to Leger.

The winner of the vote will be announced on Sept. 10. A general election is not due until 2025.

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Editing by Deepa Babington

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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