With Erin O’Toole now no longer the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), many people are wondering who the next leader of the Official Opposition will be. Here’s what we know about how the next Tory leader will be selected.
Article 10 of the Conservative Party of Canada constitution details the process of how a new leader is chosen. The first thing that happens in the selection process after a leader is removed is the election of an interim leader, that of which the party has already done. Immediately following O’Toole’s ouster on Feb. 2, Candice Bergen, MP for the Manitoba riding of Portage–Lisgar since 2008, was made interim leader.
Who makes the rules?
After the interim leader is selected, the party’s national council appoints the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), which committee decides on the final rules for the selection process.
“The leadership election organizing committee shall determine the rules and procedures for the conduct of the leadership selection process, including a dispute resolution procedure which shall be final and binding,” the CPC constitution says.
“The rules shall provide that a member may cast a postal ballot; the minimum membership period established for eligibility to vote in the leadership election shall be set so as to permit adequate time for ballots to be mailed to members and returned by mail.”
Ian Brodie, a former chief of staff under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, was recently selected its chair. Other members of LEOC include James Dodds, the chair of Conservative Fund Canada; former Harper cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq; Quebec Sen. Judith Seidman; former Yukon premier Darrell Pasloski; and CPC president Robert Batherson.
LEOC is currently in the process of determining the rules of the upcoming selection process and doesn’t yet have a timeline for when the rules will be made available.
“LEOC is very mindful about the need to to get this settled as soon as possible so that members and prospective candidates know what the ground rules are for the leadership election,” Batherson said.
How does voting work?
All members of the CPC are given the chance to vote in a mail-in ranked ballot election during the period LEOC decides on. A ranked ballot vote is when voters get to rank all the candidates available, so in the last leadership election they would have ranked the four available candidates 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the ballot as opposed to just picking one favourite.
All votes are also assigned to one of the 338 electoral districts.
So if you have 1,000 conservatives who vote in one riding, and 600 of them vote for candidate one, and 400 vote for candidate two, then 60 points go to candidate one, and 40 points go to candidate two.
Ballots are also ranked if there are more than two candidates. Until a candidate has a total of 50 per cent plus one of the points available, the bottom ranked candidate is dropped off the ballot and votes are reassigned until one candidate has a total of at least 50 per cent plus one of the total points available.
“In 2017, there were 14 candidates, so there were 13 rounds of voting. In 2020, there were four candidates. So there was only three rounds of voting until someone got more than 50 per cent plus one of the of the eligible points,” said Batherson.
Whichever leadership candidate gets the majority of points “50 per cent plus one” from across the country they win the party leadership.
How can you get involved?
If you would like to take part in the selection of the next leader of the CPC, you need to be a member of the party. You can learn more about joining the CPC at their website.