Conservative party says nearly 679,000 members are eligible to vote for a new leader

OTTAWA-

The Conservative Party of Canada has announced its final membership list, reporting that a total of 678,708 people will be eligible to vote in the leadership race.

In a statement issued on Friday, the party’s spokesman, Yaroslav Baran, said membership had quadrupled since last year, stating that this made the Conservatives the largest party in Canadian history by membership.

The Liberal Party of Canada, for its part, said it had nearly 300,000 members at the time of its last leadership election, in 2013.

According to party figures, the most significant growth was in Quebec, where membership jumped from 7,648 at the end of last year to 58,437 now.

While there were 261,984 total party members during the 2020 leadership race, the party says there are now almost 300,000 people eligible to vote in Ontario alone. The party says membership has at least doubled in all provinces and territories, and has even quadrupled in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and British Columbia.

The party will not disclose the number of memberships sold by individual leadership campaigns, so it is unknown if any candidate can claim responsibility for the huge growth in certain regions.

The party says 80,000 members have already cast their votes. But exactly how many of the nearly 679,000 members will cast their votes before the September 6 deadline won’t be known until the winner is announced on September 10.

The deadline to register as a member, and thus be able to vote in the upcoming leadership elections, was June 3.

The previous record number of party members was in 2004, when the then-Progressive Conservative Party and the then-Canadian Alliance merged to create the Conservative Party of Canada. There were nearly 282,000 members at the time. Since then, the highest record during a leadership campaign was in 2020 with 261,984 members.

“This massive increase in membership demonstrates the excitement generated by this race for leadership and the momentum for a change of government in Ottawa,” Conservative Party Chairman Robert Batherson said in the statement.

Party officials released a preliminary list of members for leadership campaigns in late June for review. All campaigns were given the opportunity to challenge memberships. At the time, there were approximately 675,000 members on the list.

According to the party, the final list has about 3,500 more members because the review period allowed time for campaigns to challenge some of the exclusions, showing that some members should be eligible to vote.


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