During the Leadership Election Organizing Committee’s (LEOC) last discussion around the affects of COVID-19 on the Conservative Party leadership election, the LEOC committed to continue to monitor developments.
At that time, the question the LEOC decided to consistently ask throughout these days is whether the Leadership Election can continue to be conducted under the requirements of the constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada, and whether it’s operationally possible based on the announced timelines.
The constitution is specific – a mail ballot must be offered to hold this election. While Conservative members can vote from the safety of their home, there are, however, processes around the mail ballot that can be affected by COVID-19 containment measures, including a mail ballot requiring a large group of people in one place in order to properly check voting requirements and process the ballot.
The safety and health of volunteers has been top of mind for LEOC and staff.
Party staff concluded measures could be taken to alleviate concerns, but would mean a delayed announcement date if current measures in place in many provinces maintained over the course of the coming weeks and months. Another uncertainty was Canada Post and measures they would need to take over these coming weeks, and how that could impact delivery standards.
With all non-essential businesses now closed in ON and QC including our HQ, LEOC now finds that it is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count ballots in time for a June 27 announcement. The Leadership Election will be suspended until there’s greater clarity on the outlook of returning to an operational standard that allows for a proper administration of the Leadership Election.
LEOC will continue to monitor developments and meet regularly to discuss options, and scheduled May 1, 2020 to return to do a fulsome re-evaluation of the dates and time needed to complete the race under the obligations of the constitution.
Until May 1, 2020, there will be a suspension of leadership fundraising. The Party will not be processing directed donations, and Verified Candidates will be asked and encouraged to refrain from contacting party members until after a decision is taken on May 1, 2020.
As a result of this decision, the upcoming debates are canceled. LEOC will look at rescheduling, or possibly adding more debates following the May 1, 2020 re-evaluation. The convention event at the end of June is also canceled.
To reflect the current suspension of the race, the membership deadline will also be moved to May 15, 2020.
This decision does not affect any previous deadlines – the deadline to enter the race and deadline to become a Verified Candidate are maintained.