Half of CCP members have already voted to choose their new leader

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More than half of Conservative Party of Canada members returned their ballots to choose their new leader, a week before the September 6 deadline.

The party says just over 350,000 ballots were received out of the 678,000 people eligible to vote in the leadership race.

This means that voter turnout currently stands at around 52%. In the party’s 2020 leadership race, which was won by Ontario MLA Erin O’Toole, about 65% of members voted.

Leadership contestants and their teams have spent the final weeks of this race working hard to make sure their supporters vote — and trying to reach out to those who didn’t.

Still, the voters list is long this year — the total number of members is a record for a Canadian political party — so reaching everyone before the deadline is a challenge.

Front-runner Pierre Poilievre, who held nearly 80 large rallies across the country throughout the campaign, held his last meeting Monday in Vancouver. According to his team, more than 1000 people were present.

Mr Poilievre has been helped by some of the 62 MPs who support him, who have organized events where supporters can vote in person.

MP Corey Tochor, who co-chairs Poilievre’s campaign in Saskatchewan with former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, said he notices campaign events attract two to three more people than other races. direction.

« People are really, really excited, » said the Saskatchewan MP.

In addition to allowing ballots to be collected across the country, which are then sent to Ottawa, the events organized from coast to coast give members a chance to express themselves, he says.

« It’s very moving to see some of our supporters, new and old, who are practically teary-eyed thinking about the change we could make, » added Mr. Tochor.

During gatherings, members can also take advantage of the facilities made available to them to photocopy an identity document, which they must send with their ballot. This logistical step can be complex for some members.

Poilievre favorite, but Charest does not concede anything

Many party members have been expecting Mr Poilievre to win the election since his campaign team reported selling more than 300,000 memberships. However, the team of Jean Charest, the former premier of Quebec and Mr. Poilievre’s main rival, indicated that they believe they have the points necessary for a narrow victory.

For the last week before the deadline, Mr. Charest’s campaign team intends to concentrate its efforts in Ontario and British Columbia, two important battlefields in the race, according to her. She believes she already has a lot of support in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Mr. Charest also hopes to win the support of Patrick Brown, who was disqualified from the race last month due to an allegation that he violated the country’s electoral law.

The former Quebec premier has contacted organizers who were part of Mr. Brown’s team, but some party members believe convincing his supporters to rally behind Mr. Charest will be easier said than done , because they could now decide not to vote at all.

The next Conservative leader will be announced at a convention in Ottawa on September 10.

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