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Stephen Harper leaves Conservative Fund to block Jean Charest leadership bid: report

Two unnamed sources within the Conservative Party of Canada told Maclean’s that Harper’s motivation for leaving the fund was so he could campaign against potential leadership candidate Jean Charest.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper has resigned from the Conservative Fund to stop Jean Charest from becoming leader, according to a story in Maclean’s.

Harper resigned from the board of the Conservative Fund, the Conservative Party’s financial branch, on Wednesday. Board members are supposed to remain neutral during leadership races.

“Yes, Mr. Harper has left his position on the Conservative Fund. The Fund thanks former prime minister Harper for his tireless work on the board, and wishes him well. His contributions, support and wise counsel to the Board over the past many years has been appreciated,” said Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann.

Two unnamed sources within the Conservative Party of Canada told Maclean’s that Harper’s motivation for leaving the fund was so he could campaign against potential leadership candidate Jean Charest.

Harper, who is in India this week for a global affairs conference, lauded the Conservative Fund for its “unparalleled” fundraising and fiscal management, in a tweet posted Wednesday night.

Charest served as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1993 to 1998, before leaving federal politics to run for leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Charest served as premier of Quebec from 2003 to 2013.

Charest is publicly considering a leadership bid, though has recently garnered controversy when it was alleged that he has been advising Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei on ways to enter the Canadian market.

The source cited in the Maclean’s story said Charest asked for Harper’s blessing to seek the leadership in December, but Harper said he would not support him entering the race.

Harper allegedly told Charest, who is considered more left-leaning than most conservatives, that the modern-day Conservative party is nothing like the one he left behind in 1998.

While Charest has not officially entered the race to replace Andrew Scheer, all indications suggest that he is preparing to launch a leadership bid shortly.

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