The race for leadership of the federal Conservatives began Monday and the party has released the rules for the contest. To get their names on the ballot, candidates have just over two months to collect $300,000 and 3,000 signatures.

Both the financial requirements and the need to have 3,000 signatures are spread out in stages.

By February 27, candidates will have to pay $25,000 and have the signatures of 1,000 members from 30 different ridings in seven different provinces or territories.

After that, they’ll have until March 25 to meet the remaining financial and other obligations. The fee itself is in two parts – a non-refundable $200,000, and $100,00 deposit candidates will get back if they follow all the rules.

The leadership race had begun unofficially in mid-December, following current leader Andrew Scheer’s announcement that he’d quit as soon as his replacement was chosen.

He linked his decision to the increasing pressures the role was placing on his family, but it came after weeks of intense criticism of the Conservatives’ performance in the campaign, and his own performance in particular.

There are also lingering questions about how he was spending party money given to him to help with the costs of being leader, including whether he should or shouldn’t have spend those funds on tuition for his children’s school.

The likely candidates will include current MPs Pierre Poilievre and Erin O’Toole, former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Whoever wins the 2020 race will be just the fourth party leader since the Conservative party was formed after a merger between the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives.

The race is a process designed to test the organizational abilities of the party’s next leader, said Dan Nowlan, the other co-chair of the organization committee to a media outlet.

“It’s not only your ability to fundraise, but more importantly your ability to inspire Canadians to join our party, and to do so under tight timelines similar to the pressures of an election,” he said in a statement.

The Conservatives will elect their next leader at a convention on June 27 in Toronto and members will have to sign up by April 17 if they hope to vote for the new leader. -CINEWS


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