Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Patrick Brown has ruled out running for a seat with the federal Conservatives should opponent Pierre Poilievre become leader.
If the race “got to a point where it looked like Pierre was going to win,” Brown said he would return to municipal politics and continue on his role as mayor of Brampton, Ontario.
“I continue to believe that we can win this leadership. I continue to believe that we can beat Pierre Poilievre and make sure that we actually have the capacity to defeat Justin Trudeau in the next election,” said Brown.
Brown has until the middle of August to file his nomination papers to be a candidate in Brampton’s fall mayoral race. Meanwhile, the Conservatives will not select their new leader until September 10.
As for other candidates, Brown said he would “be happy” to run under either Jean Charest and Leslyn Lewis in the next election.
Brown claimed he has signed up 150,000 members to support him in the leadership race. Poilievre’s campaign claims to have sold over 311,000 new members, though this figure was mocked as “Pierreinflation” by Charest, who is not releasing his membership numbers, in a CTV interview. Other campaigns have yet to release how many memberships they’ve acquired.
Last week, Brown lost two endorsements from Conservative MPs Kyle Seeback and Dan Muys.
The pair had originally endorsed Brown but then reversed course and threw their support behind Poilievre.
“I believe there’s one candidate – one my constituents support – who can unite conservatives & Canadians to become our next PM,” Seeback said.
Initially Seeback was serving as Brown’s caucus chair but in a statement to True North he said that “the divisive nature of this campaign is not good for conservatives and it’s time for conservatives to unite.”
Muys also cited divisiveness as a reason behind his switch to Poilievre.
“(Seeback) is right. Over the past month, I’ve been helping (Ontario) PC candidate in my spare time and haven’t been engaged in the (Conservative) leadership. I am increasingly concerned about the divisiveness. Let’s unify behind Pierre Poilievre,” tweeted Muys.
A Brown campaign spokesperson brushed off the lost endorsements.
“(An) endorsement from anyone and two bucks gets you a cup of coffee and one vote. We just lost two votes, we’ll make them up somewhere else,” Chisholm Pothier said.