Former Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown’s campaign is urging supporters to vote for Jean Charest, according to an email sent to Global News on Tuesday.
Brown was disqualified from the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership race on July 5 over an alleged violation of financial provisions and the Election Canada Act.
According to the email, which details a call between Brown and his supporters, the campaign states that they will continue to pursue all legal options to try and overturn the disqualification, but “there is a strong likelihood” that their appeal “won’t succeed before the vote.”
“If that is the case, Patrick has been clear he would support any new leader of the CPC except Pierre Poilievre,” it reads. “If it comes to that, he will be voting for Jean Charest. He encouraged his supporters to stay involved, do their research and make their own choice for next leader of the party.”
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Charest is the former Quebec premier from 2003 to 2012.
The note added that Brown also has high regard for candidates Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitcheson, but “Charest has the best chance to stop Pierre Poilievre extremism.”
Poilievre was seen leading a “Freedom Convoy” march in Ottawa on June 30, with a group of red and white adorned supporters following him. Beside him was James Topp, who has far-right extremist ties, Global News previously reported.
Patrick Brown fighting disqualification from Conservative leadership race
Brown has alleged that the CPC disqualified him to ensure Poilievre’s victory, according to a statement released by Brown’s campaign on July 6.
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In a statement released by the CPC on July 5, Ian Brodie, chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), stated that since Brown’s campaign failed to provide information that “satisfies concerns about their compliance with the CPC’s Rules and Procedures and/or the Canada Elections Act,” he was disqualified.
Brown hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein to appeal to Brodie and chief returning officer Don Nightingale, despite the party’s election rules stating that all decisions by the LEOC are final.
In addition, the CPC has hired an independent legal counsel to help review if one of its committees has the jurisdiction to hear Brown’s appeal.
Charest believes he is the consensus Conservative leadership candidate
On Tuesday, Charest and his team circulated a statement from former MP John Reynolds, who served as co-chair on Brown’s campaign. Reynolds said Charest is “the unity candidate” that the CPC needs during a time when its divisions within caucus and the broader movement were on full display.
Reynolds didn’t mention Brown by name or the Brampton mayor’s efforts to appeal his disqualification from the leadership race.
On Monday, the CPC tweeted that more than 675,000 members are eligible to vote for the next party leader, which the party claims is “more than ever before” in its history.
Members are being asked to complete and mail their leadership election ballots back to the party before Sept. 6. A winner will be announced on Sept. 10.
Brown’s name is still on the ballot despite his disqualification, which was announced after ballots were already in the mail to members.
— with files from Global News’ David Akin and Rachel Gilmore, and The Canadian Press
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