Over half a million Canadians are eligible to vote for the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the party announced on Friday. 

The party has finalized its official voter list at 678,708 members, making the Conservatives “the largest party in Canadian history,” the party claims.  

Party president Robert Batherson said, “this massive surge in membership demonstrates the excitement generated by this leadership race, and the momentum for a change of government in Ottawa.”

According to the party’s figures, there are members across Canada:

  • 4422 voters in Newfoundland & Labrador
  • 2979 in Prince Edward Island
  • 13,648 in Nova Scotia
  • 11,754 in New Brunswick
  • 58,437 in Quebec
  • 295,815 in Ontario
  • 25,291 in Manitoba
  • 32,639 in Saskatchewan
  • 131,860 in Alberta
  • 99,963 in British Columbia
  • 1160 in Yukon
  • 606 in the Northwest Territories
  • 132 in Nunavut

The Party says membership counts have “at least” doubled in every Canadian province, with Quebec seeing a shocking 764% increase – the highest increase of any province.

“This astronomical growth in Quebec is a clear sign of our party’s resurgence,” said party Vice President Valerie Assouline.

“Quebecers are increasingly seeing a home in the Conservative Party, excited to be part of our movement that will form a principled government after the next election.”

The figure is almost quadruple the amount of 169,705 members the party had at the end of 2021, and also more than the eligible voters it had in the 2020 leadership race (269,469) and the 2017 race (259,010) combined.

In comparison, the Liberal party had 294,002 eligible voters in the race that saw Justin Trudeau become leader. Liberal Party memberships are free, while Conservative memberships cost $15.

Canadians had to join the party before June 3 to be eligible to vote in the leadership race. 

The party gave the leadership campaigns an initial membership list on June 30 – which was subject to challenges. An updated list was sent on July 18th to the campaigns.

As previously explained by True North, voting for the 2022 Conservative leadership race is being done via ranked mail-in ballots.

Each federal riding with 100 or more voting members is assigned 100 points, regardless of whether the riding has 100 or 1000 members. Ridings with less than 100 voting members will be given one point per member.

Points are distributed by how many votes each candidate receives in the riding. 

For example: if candidate A gets 45% of the vote, candidate B receives 35% of the vote and candidate C gets 20% of the vote. Then Candidate A would receive 45 points, candidate B would get 35 points, and candidate C would come in third with 20 points.

A candidate needs to receive over 50% of the points to win the race. 

If that does not happen in the first round of voting, the candidate who placed last is eliminated and their votes are transferred to other candidates ranked on those members’ ballots.

The process continues until a candidate receives the majority needed in order to become leader.

For example, Andrew Scheer was elected on the 13th ballot after trailing Maxime Bernier in all 12 previous rounds. While Erin O’Toole was elected on the third ballot despite having placed second to Peter Mackay on the first.

Ballots must be returned in time for September 6, and the results are set to be announced on September 10, 2022 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa.

U.K.-based firm Deloitte will be in charge of receiving and registering the ballots. The firm is serving as the validator of the vote. 

The Conservative Party says around 80,000 have already been returned.

This marks the Conservative Party’s third leadership race since the defeat of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015.

Conservatives have since failed twice to unseat Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite his unpopularity and multiple scandals.

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