Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) interim leader Candice Bergen criticized the legacy media while speaking about uniting Conservatives at the party’s Calgary Stampede barbecue event. 

In recent weeks, legacy media journalists and pundits have questioned how the party will stay united after a heated leadership campaign. 

“According to many in the media, when Liberals disagree, they are progressive and open-minded. But when (Conservatives) disagree, we’re divided and angry.” Bergen said.

“I’ve been reading those articles since 2004.”

Bergen appealed to the audience to stop using identity politics to divide the party with labels such as red Tories, blue Tories, social conservatives and libertarians. 

The CPC hosted the stampede event after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dozens of current and former provincial politicians were in attendance, including candidates for the CPC and United Conservative Party leadership contests. 

In her remarks, Bergen acknowledged that over 675,000 party members will be eligible to vote in the upcoming CPC leadership contest. 

The Manitoba MP says the legacy media will likely ignore the fact that no other political party in Canada has ever held so many members 

The membership sales raised $11.5 million in revenue for the party, one-third of which will flow to the party’s 338 electoral associations. 

Last week, the leadership race saw a significant turn of events as Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was disqualified by the  Leadership Election Organization Committee (LEOC). On Thursday, Brown’s former regional organizer Debbie Jodoin came forward with allegations that the Brampton Mayor was illegally paying her through a corporation – a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

Bergen did not specially address the Brown controversy, but, she thanked the members of the LEOC and said they have undoubtedly worked in the interest of the party. 

Leadership is not “for the faint of heart,” Bergen said while urging the next Conservative leader to treat their caucus with trust and respect. 

Bergen acknowledged that her stampede speech will likely one of her last as leader of the party, while describing the role as “the honour of a lifetime.”


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.

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