CPC Leadership – Who is running and how will it work?

Written By Guest User, Posted on February 19, 2020

The Conservative Party leadership race is now well underway with three candidates officially approved by the Party and eight more declaring their intention to run. 

While many prominent figures have declined to run, including Rona Ambrose, John Baird, Candace Bergen, Pierre Poilievre and Jean Charest, a few higher profile candidates like Peter McKay and Erin O’Toole still remain in the race. 

Although the actual voting day will not take place until Jun 27, 2020, there are a series of deadlines and fundraising goals the candidates must meet in order to make it there. 

The first major deadline is February 27th, the approved applicant cut off.  By this date, the candidates must have paid the $25,000 minimum and handed in 1,000 signatures of support from CPC members living in at least 30 different electoral ridings from across at least seven provinces and/or territories. 

For many candidates, this will already be quite a steep challenge, which is exactly why the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) created this hurdle, in order to prevent the crowded field it experienced in the 2017 leadership race. 

So far, only O’Toole, McKay, and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis have paid the 25k and submitted the 1,000 signatures. 

The second important date is March 25th, the final cutoff for approved applicants to pay the full $300,000 fee and submit 3,000 signatures from CPC members living in at least 30 different electoral ridings from across at least seven provinces and/or territories. 

Although the CPC had 259,010 party members eligible to vote as of 2017, only 141,000 cast a vote. While obtaining 3,000 signatures from a pool of this size might not seem too challenging, the regional component might make it difficult for candidates who only have pockets of support in concentrated areas. 

In 2017, the requirement was only 300 signatures from across the country, plus a 100k entry fee. This time, the fee has tripled and the signature requirement has increased tenfold, making it very difficult for some of the lower name recognition candidates to make it past the February 27th deadline, never-mind the March 25th one. 

The final important deadline is the membership deadline on April 17th. The candidates have until this date to sell Party memberships, at $15 for one year of membership, in order to increase their eligible voter pool. 

After this date, the campaigns will shift from shoring up their own support bases to expanding their vote potential in other candidate voter pools, especially and second and third choice options. 

The voting system used by the CPC will be the same as in 2017, where they utilized a single transferable vote version of ranked voting. 

Basically, when you receive your voting card, you’ll be able to rank the candidates from first to last. You do not have to list all the candidates but, if you do not, and if the candidates that you ranked all fall off the ballot, you will no longer have a vote. 

Consider this example scenario: 

Round 1: There are four candidates. You rank them in your preferred order, A,B,C, and D. candidates A, B, and C all get 10,000 votes but candidate D only gets 1,500 so candidate D is now off the ballot. 

Round 2: Candidate D’s votes get distributed among the remaining candidates based upon whatever the second choice of D voters was. Now, A has 10,250 votes, B has 10,750, and C has 10,500. A is now in last place so he falls off the ballot. Since you voted for A as your first choice, your second choice (B) will go to B in round three. 

Round 3: The second choices of A voters are divided up among candidates B and C. Of the 10,250 up for grabs, 8,000 go to B, 1,500 go to C, and the remaining 750 go nowhere because those voters did not list a second choice. Candidate B ends up winning with 18,750 votes. 

Considering the high hurdles that await the many candidates, it will be interesting to watch which of the front runners can convince the lesser known candidates to bow out and endorse them in order to gain a boost in donations and signatures. 

In 2017, Andrew Scheer was able to ride the middle lane and pick up just enough secondary support to defeat Maxime Bernier in the 13th round of voting. This time however, there will be far less candidates and opportunity to slide by unnoticed. 

Candidates will have to walk the tightrope of carving out their own niche yet not alienating too many party members in order to gain that crucial secondary support. Stay tuned to The National Telegraph as we carefully cover the CPC leadership race over the next few months! 

Guest User

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