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CPC Leadership: Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s thinking about it?

Check back on this page on a daily basis to see who may be the next Conservative leader.

Andrew Scheer announced his resignation as the Conservative Party of Canada leader on December 12, 2019. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about who’s going to run in the upcoming leadership race.

The committee organizing the Conservative Party’s leadership race has announced that party members will vote for a new leader on June 27.

Party insiders told CBC News that hopeful candidates are expected to pay an entry fee of $300,000 and acquire 3,000 signatures from party members to partake in the contest. 

True North will be keeping track of who’s in, who’s out and who’s thinking about it. Check back on this page on a daily basis to see who may be the next Conservative leader.

Last updated on January 15, 2020.

Officially Running

No one is officially registered as per the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership rules.

Running

Pierre Poilievre
Conservative finance critic and former employment minister

Pierre Poilievre is one of the pit bulls of the House of Commons, and will be trying to bring that energy to the Conservative leadership race. Pierre Poilievre will soon formally announce a leadership bid, according to media reports. His campaign will be chaired by former cabinet minister John Baird. In December, Poilievre laid out a vision for what kind of leader the Conservatives need, telling reporters the next leader must be “someone who will stand up, fight back and win – stand up for our principles, fight back against the corrupt Liberal cabal, and win the next election.”

Erin O’Toole
Conservative foreign affairs critic and former veterans affairs minister

Erin O’Toole finished in third place when he ran for Conservative leader in 2017, getting eliminated in the 12th round with 21.26 per cent of the vote. Nevertheless, he was the caucus favourite in that leadership race with more endorsements from sitting Conservative members of parliament than any other candidate. According to media reports, O’Toole has signalled to conservatives at a Toronto Christmas party that he’ll be running.

Marilyn Gladu
Member of Parliament, Sarnia—Lambton

First elected in 2015, Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she is “ready to lead” and “can bring the party together.” The engineer says she has the money, the support, and the campaign team to win. Gladu touted her business experience and bilingualism as traits that will help her as Conservative leader, should she be successful. In an earlier exchange with The Globe and Mail‘s Marieke Walsh, Gladu “says she’s…pro-choice, would walk in a Pride Parade and won’t fight the carbon tax.”

Vincenzo Guzzo
Dragons’ Den star and businessman

Even with Kevin O’Leary out of the running, the Conservative leadership race will have a Dragon. Investor and businessman Vincenzo Guzzo, who runs Quebec’s large Cinéma Guzzo chain, is getting into the race, according to a report from the Post Millennial. He says he’s opposed to career politicians with “zero managerial skills,” and is pro-choice. While he’s a gun owner, he doesn’t understand how people in the west oppose a gun registry, he told the National Post.

Richard Décarie
Former deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper as opposition leader

Entrepreneur and Quebec political organizer Richard Décarie says he’s a “True Blue, full spectrum conservative.” He worked for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition when Stephen Harper was leader of the Canadian Alliance, and then the Conservative Party of Canada. He also was the chief Quebec organizer for Harper’s 2004 CPC leadership campaign. Décarie, a Catholic who lives in Montreal, has worked in the non-profit sector in addition to his political work.

Peter MacKay
Former attorney general

The former Harper cabinet Minister and final leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada is in. Peter MacKay is expected to make an official announcement soon.

Peter MacKay was touted as a possible replacement for Andrew Scheer even before Scheer resigned as leader. MacKay had openly criticized the Conservative campaign in the days following the election.

Considering

Michelle Rempel Garner
Conservative industry critic and former western economic diversification minister

Michelle Rempel Garner, the outspoken member of the Conservative caucus and former cabinet minister, was coy when asked on CTV’s Question Period whether she’d be seeking the leadership of the Conservative party. Rempel Garner said she hopes strong candidates – herself included – “take time to reflect,” saying that no one should be “self-de-selecting at this point.”

Candice Bergen
Conservative house leader and former social development minister

Appearing on a CTV panel with former Conservative MP Lisa Raitt and industry critic Michelle Rempel Garner, Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen wouldn’t rule out a run for her party’s leadership. Bergen said she’s “glad” she’s being considered, given her work as a leader in the party, but added it’s “very, very early to be even considering any of that.”

Jean Charest
Former Quebec premier and PC Party of Canada leader

It’s been 21 years since Jean Charest stepped down as leader of the now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, but now sources are telling Radio-Canada that the former deputy prime minister is strongly considering running to replace Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. After leaving federal politics in 1998, Charest went on to serve, as a Liberal, as Premier of Quebec. Radio-Canada reports he’s been “greatly shaken” by calls from current and past lawmakers to enter the CPC race.

Rod Phillips
Ontario finance minister

First-term Ontario member of provincial parliament Rod Phillips took the helm of Ontario’s finance ministry in June, working under Premier Doug Ford. He was considering seeking the leadership of the Ontario PC Party after Patrick Brown resigned, but opted out of running. Now, according to the Toronto Star’s Robert Benzie, Phillips is “considering a run” for the federal Conservative leadership.

Michael Chong
Member of Parliament, Wellington—Halton Hills

During the 2017 Conservative leadership race, Michael Chong was the only candidate to support a carbon tax. The former intergovernmental affairs minister concedes his carbon tax push did not go over well with the members, but is still considering another bid to be Conservative leader. Chong was also one of two Conservative MPs to support the anti-Islamophobia motion M-103. In 2017, he came in fifth place and was eliminated in Round 10 of counting with 9.14 per cent of the vote.

Michael Fortier
Former senator and cabinet minister

Former trade minister Michael Fortier is considering getting back into politics, telling The Hill Times he’s “looking very seriously” at a run for the Conservative leadership. Fortier was appointed by Stephen Harper from outside the government, but was, weeks later, appointed to the Senate. Fortier resigned from the Senate in 2008 to run for a House of Commons seat in that year’s election, but he was unsuccessful.

Rudy Husny
Former political staffer

After several years working for Conservative politicians and two attempts at getting elected as a member of parliament in Montreal, Rudy Husny says he’s “strongly considering running” for the Conservative leadership. The Quebecer, who worked with former trade minister Ed Fast, and more recently the Office of the Leader of the Opposition under Andrew Scheer.

Leslyn Lewis
Former Conservative candidate

Leslyn Lewis was the Conservative candidate in 2015 for the riding of Scarborough-Rouge Park. She lost in 2015 but remained active in conservative circles. According to sources in Toronto, Lewis is seriously considering a run for leader. Leslyn is a lawyer, the vice-chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and a chair of Ontario Youth Fund.

Rick Peterson
Businessman and former CPC Leadership Candidate

Peterson unsuccessfully ran in the 2016 CPC Leadership Campaign. From Vancouver, Peterson was also an unsuccessful leadership candidate for the BC Conservatives. According to sources in Ottawa, Peterson is seriously considering another run for leader.

Not Running

Rona Ambrose
Former interim Conservative leader

The former Harper cabinet Minister and Interm Leader of the Conservative party is officially out. Sources told La Presse that Ambrose will not run for the Conservative Party’s leadership race.

Despite receiving glowing endorsements from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, according to La Presse  Ambrose has made no calls to form an organization, amid questions the past few weeks about her potential candidacy and is likely to “confirm her intentions in the coming days.”

Bryan Brulotte
CEO, MaxSys Staffing and Consulting

First in and first out. Former political organizer Bryan Brulotte said he was “fully committed to running” for the Conservative leadership, though pulled out of the race just days after getting into it. Brulotte worked as a deputy chief of chief to a minister in Kim Campbell’s government and ran for the federal Progressive Conservatives in the 2000 election. Brulotte threw his support behind Peter MacKay.

Lisa Raitt
Former deputy Conservative leader and transport minister

When Lisa Raitt was asked whether she planned to seek the Conservative leadership by Evan Solomon, there was no wavering. “I’m out,” she said. Raitt, who served as deputy Conservative leader until the most recent election, said things are different for her living outside the parliamentary precinct. She said it’s not her time, but noted that she’ll “observe from the sidelines and comment frequently.”

Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario

One of the most prominent voices calling for Andrew Scheer’s resignation was Kory Teneycke, who last year managed the campaign that elected Doug Ford as Ontario’s premier. Though don’t take from this that Ford might be looking to jump up to the federal arena so soon after taking the reins of Ontario’s government. Ford’s spokesperson told a Durham radio station that Ford is focused squarely on the province and won’t be running for the federal Conservative leadership.

W. Brett Wilson
Businessman

Investor and former Dragons’ Den star has become a Twitter star for his no-nonsense criticism of Justin Trudeau and other anti-energy policies. Despite a burgeoning campaign on Twitter to draft Wilson into politics, he tells True North he’s not interested in the job.

Jason Kenney
Premier of Alberta

At one point considered to be the heir apparent to Stephen Harper as Conservative leader, Jason Kenney is now working away as Alberta’s premier. He told Peter Braid of the Calgary Herald that he is staying put, offering his support instead to Rona Ambrose should she decide to run.

Brad Trost
Former member of parliament, Saskatoon—University

Prominent social conservative Brad Trost came in fourth place in the 2017 Conservative leadership race, eliminated in Round 11 with 14.30 per cent of the vote. Trost told True North he won’t be running, though qualified it by saying he didn’t think he was going to be running last time, so take it with a grain of salt. Trost previously introduced a private member’s bill to privatize the CBC, and once described himself as being on the conservative side of the conservative wing of the Conservative party. He didn’t run in the 2019 election, losing his party’s nomination to Corey Tochor, who won as a Conservative.

Maxime Bernier
Leader, People’s Party of Canada

The People’s Party of Canada leader and 2017 Conservative leadership runner-up is clear: he will not be taking another shot at leading the party under which he served as a member of parliament for 12 years. Shortly after Scheer resigned, Bernier reiterated his belief that the CPC “is morally and intellectually corrupt,” and said the next leader will push the party to the centre, as he claims Scheer did.

Kevin O’Leary
Businessman

It looked as though Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary might actually win the 2017 Conservative leadership before he abruptly withdrew from the race and endorsed Maxime Bernier. O’Leary is ruling out another run, saying that the political finance rules are too restrictive to outsider campaigns. He’s still in debt from his 2017 leadership race because he’s not allowed to pay it off himself. He told True North he will “rethink” a leadership run if he’s successful in his April court challenge against Elections Canada.

Brad Wall
Former premier of Saskatchewan

Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall fought the carbon tax and is a star among the Canadian right. He’s been unequivocal, however, that he will not be seeking the Conservative party’s leadership. He has thrown his support behind Rona Ambrose, should she run.

Bernard Lord
Former premier of New Brunswick

Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord will not be seeking the Conservative party’s leadership. Lord governed New Brunswick from 1999 to 2006 and now serves as president and CEO of an insurance and health services company. While he reportedly took stock of whether he’d have support were he to enter the race, he opted out of running.

Christy Clark
Former British Columbia premier

In a CBC interview, former BC premier Christy Clark didn’t explicitly say “no” when asked if she had Conservative leadership ambitions, but did say she wasn’t thinking about it with her son home from university and the holidays afoot. We’re prepared to call this one a “not running” for now.

Patrick Brown
Mayor of Brampton and former PC Party of Ontario leader

Brampton mayor Patrick Brown says he has no interest in a return to federal politics. The former member of parliament, who left federal politics to lead the Ontario PCs, is “happy” with his life in Brampton, where he can focus on non-partisan municipal politics and his wife and young son.

Caroline Mulroney
Ontario transportation minister

Ontario cabinet minister Caroline Mulroney has unequivocally ruled out a federal leadership run. The first-term MPP sought the leadership of Ontario’s PCs in 2018, where she placed third after Doug Ford and Christine Elliott.

No Word Yet

James Moore
Former industry minister

Stephen Harper
Former prime minister

Pierre Lemieux
Former member of parliament, Glengarry—Prescott—Russell

Kellie Leitch
Former labour minister

Leona Alleslev
Deputy Conservative leader

Rick Peterson
Businessman and former Conservative leadership candidate

Steven Blaney
Conservative heritage critic and former public safety minister

Chris Alexander
Former immigration minister

Andrew Saxton
Former member of parliament, North Vancouver

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