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Names in the mix: an list of potential Conservative leadership contenders


OTTAWA — The Conservative leadership race is underway and the deadline to register as a candidate is Feb. 27.

By then, candidates must have submitted 1,000 signatures, $25,000, a full application form and been approved by the party's leadership organizing committee.

— Marilyn Gladu: A professional engineer for decades before she was elected an MP in the 2015, Gladu is well-liked among her peers in the House of Commons, once being named the "Most Collegial Parliamentarian" in an annual survey. She represents the Ontario riding of Sarnia-Lambton, and has served as the party's critic on health and science files. She has two children.

— Jim Karahalios: A longtime activist in Ontario conservative circles, Karahalios is known for two advocacy campaigns targeting the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. One was to end their once-upon-a-time support for a carbon tax, and a second was launched in the wake of nomination issues plaguing the party under former leader Patrick Brown. A lawyer and businessman, he is the spouse of Belinda Karahalios, the Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP for the riding of Cambridge.

— Leslyn Lewis: The Toronto lawyer has never held elected office, but she did run for the Conservatives in the 2015 election, losing to a Liberal. She runs her own legal practice, and among other things was until recently the vice-chair of Ontario's Trillium Foundation, a major government granting agency. She holds multiple degrees, including a PhD. She has been endorsed by the Campaign Life Coalition, an organization that actively works to support candidates who oppose abortion. She came to Canada from Jamaica when she was a child.

— Peter MacKay: He served as a member of Parliament from 1997 to 2015 representing ridings in Nova Scotia. In 2003, he became the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, and was instrumental in its merger with the Canadian Alliance to form the current Conservative party in 2004. He went on to serve in three cabinet positions under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. He left politics to resume his legal career. He is married to human rights advocate Nazanin Afshin-Jam, and they have three children. They live in Toronto. In addition to meeting the first threshold for candidates, MacKay has submitted a further 1,000 signatures, the entire refundable $100,000 compliance deposit and an additional $25,000 of the total fee.

— Erin O'Toole: O'Toole is currently in his third term as an MP, having left the private sector for politics in a 2012 by-election for the Toronto-area riding of Durham. He served as Veterans Affairs minister in the last Conservative government, a post he received in part thanks to his earlier career in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He ran for leadership of the party in 2017, finishing third. He is married to events planner Rebecca O'Toole and they have three children. In addition to meeting the first threshold for candidates, O'Toole has submitted a further 1,000 signatures, the entire refundable $100,000 compliance deposit and an additional $25,000 of the total fee.

— Derek Sloan: Currently in his first term as a member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington, Sloan previously worked as a lawyer. He's running with the support of several anti-abortion organizations. He is married and has three children.

These candidates are actively trying to meet the requirements:

— Richard Decarie: former talk show host and political aide under former Conservative leader Stephen Harper while in opposition.

— Vincenzo Guzzo: movie-theatre mogul from Quebec who also stars in the reality-TV program "Dragons' Den."

— Rudy Husny: longtime Quebec operative for the Conservative party, who also worked in the international trade portfolio for the Conservatives while in government.

— Rick Peterson: Alberta businessman, candidate in 2017 leadership campaign.

— Aron Seal: former director of policy for two Conservative cabinet ministers.

— Bobby Singh: entrepreneur and Conservative candidate in 2019 election in riding of Scarborough-Rouge Park.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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