Statement regarding contingencies for the Conservative Party Leadership Election in relation to COVID-19

March 16, 2020

The Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) met via teleconference last night to discuss the evolving situation around COVID-19 and how it may affect our Leadership race.

We’ve heard from a few of the Leadership candidates about the COVID-19 virus. Several have made the difficult decision to suspend large gatherings of supporters and members, and that couldn’t have been an easy choice to make, but we’re proud they’re putting the health and well-being of the public first.

The question the LEOC has committed to seize themselves with in the upcoming days and weeks will be whether the race can continue to be conducted under the constitutional requirements of the Conservative Party of Canada.

To date, the LEOC and Party staff are confident that all requirements, key dates, and milestones can be met to continue the race.

We do, however, recognize the need to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 virus.

We have put in place several contingencies to help our Leadership contenders campaign throughout these days of uncertainty. Among them are that we will be supplying a list of recommended vendors campaigns could use that specialize in virtual town halls.

The LEOC also approved adding an online portal for campaigns to utilize for submitting membership endorsement signatures, alleviating concerns about collecting signatures in person.

In addition, the decision was taken to host the planned upcoming Leadership debates without an audience. We will have these streamed online as we did in the previous Leadership race.

For all candidates who opt to organize a tele-town hall, even those who have not reached the Authorized Contestant status, the Party is offering to notify all Conservative members of one such an event. A random drawing will be conducted to determine the timing of these events, should those campaigns choose to conduct one.

As Canada’s Official Opposition party, we have an important role in our democracy, and we owe it to Canadians to have the new Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in place under the timelines we’ve announced. It’s important to the integrity of our process, and it’s important that we are able to hold the government to account, providing a voice for Canadians, especially in trying times such as what we’re currently witnessing taking place in this country.

Rest assured, we are taking the COVID-19 impacts seriously. The LEOC has committed to regular discussions on it, in addition to the daily discussions held by the Party. We are closely monitoring the affects this virus is having on events worldwide, and seeking regular updates from public health agencies and professionals. With our Leadership event not scheduled for another three months, we have no changes to announce but continue to discuss options on how to mitigate concerns over a gathering such as that, and what contingencies we could have in place, should the situation remain unchanged.

We will continue to monitor the developments around COVID-19, and when a decision is taken on any of our planned events throughout the Leadership race, we will announce it accordingly.

The rules and other details for the Conservative Leadership can be found here.