As a movement grows to oust Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole from power after his disappointing election performance, the party has locked down its voter database.
According to a report by the Toronto Star, the Conservatives have locked out party members from the Constituent Information Management System (CIMS), a database that stores information on supporters and party members.
Sources told the outlet that O’Toole’s campaign team barred access to the database in what is being described as an attempt to save his leadership.
Members are no longer able to access the database which is required to contact and identify supporters.
The move could also potentially limit access to party members by any future leadership candidate, although the Conservative Party has called the lockdown “standard operating procedure.”
“There’s a number of accounts with access to CIMS created in every riding for election purposes that don’t require access outside of elections. (Shutting it down is) to ensure only those involved in, and approved by, their (riding association) has access,” said Conservative director of communications Cory Hann.
When reporters called the CIMS support line, a voicemail message told them that the system was closed “due to post-election activities.”
An anonymous source who is an elected Conservative MP has claimed that the reason behind the move is the growing number of members signing petitions declaring that they want O’Toole removed from the leadership.
“As we speak, our sign teams are out there collecting yard signs that were distributed, and we just lost all of our data,” the anonymous MP told the Toronto Star.
“And the reason they’ve done that is now they’re worried about people being able to verify if those signing petitions against the leader are members (of the party) or not … They want to be the only ones to determine if these petitions are valid.”
Despite running a campaign attempting to appeal to Liberal and progressive voters, O’Toole was not able to unseat Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau who won a minority government on Monday.
As of September 22, 2021, the Conservatives remain in very much the same position they were in 2019 under former leader Andrew Scheer. Currently, the Conservatives have only elected 119 MPs, while the Liberals elected 158.