Patrick Brown campaign says Charest best alternative for Conservatives if their candidate isn’t reinstated

9
Patrick Brown campaign says Charest best alternative for Conservatives if their candidate isn’t reinstated

A spokesperson for Patrick Brown says supporters on the front lines of his campaign for the Conservative leadership believe that Jean Charest is the best alternative if their candidate is not reinstated.

Chisholm Pothier said Brown spoke on a call Monday evening to supporters, many of whom were “ground troops” in the campaign to elect him federal Conservative leader.

Brown was disqualified from the contest last week by party members on a committee overseeing the leadership race. He is fighting to appeal the decision.

“There was overwhelming support for Charest among the Brown supporters on the call,” Pothier wrote Tuesday.

He said Brown “spoke very highly of Charest,” the ex-Quebec premier and Brown’s former political mentor, and “the people associated with our campaign feel Charest is the best option if Patrick is not reinstated.”

Pothier stopped short of calling Brown’s message an official endorsement.

What happens now to the supporters Brown signed up as party members remains one of the major outstanding questions in the race.

His campaign said it sold 150,000 memberships, although party headquarters hasn’t validated that figure or any others publicized by the five remaining campaigns. Longtime MP Pierre Poilievre has said he sold a whopping 312,000 memberships.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Brown’s strategy in the race was to recruit new members to the party rather than reach out to existing members — people he suggested were more likely to back Poilievre and his populist messages.

Brown targeted his message specifically at racialized Canadians and those who hail from immigrant and newcomer communities.

Brown campaigned on building a more inclusive Conservative Party, giving communities a better seat at the table and advocating for their specific interests.

Despite being disqualified from the race, Brown’s name will still appear on the final ballot, as the party said some had been put in the mail by the time he was voted out.

Party spokesperson Yaroslav Baran said as of Tuesday, more than 280,000 ballots had been delivered, with another large batch scheduled to be dropped in the mail by the end of the week.

Although headquarters hasn’t confirmed specific membership sales from each campaign, it has recorded a voting base of more than 670,000 members, which is more than double what it had for the 2020 leadership race.