Names in the mix: potential Conservative leadership contenders
The deadline to register as a candidate and meet the first round of requirements is Feb. 27.
OTTAWA — The Conservative leadership race is underway and the deadline to register as a candidate and meet the first round of requirements is Feb. 27.
These candidates have been approved by the party, meaning they’ve met the first tests of the financial commitment and signatures required:
- Leslyn Lewis: The Toronto lawyer came to Canada from Jamaica as a child. Though she’s never held elected office, 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 works to support pro-life candidates. Her age could not immediately be confirmed.
- Peter MacKay: The 54-year-old lawyer 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 in the subsequent Conservative governments. 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.
- Erin O’Toole: At 47, O’Toole is 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.
These candidates are actively trying to meet those requirements:
- Richard Decarie: former talk show host and political aide under former Conservative leader Stephen Harper while in opposition.
- Marilyn Gladu: Conservative MP for Ontario riding of Sarnia-Lambton, entered politics in 2015 after decades as a professional engineer.
- 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.
- Jim Karahalios: Ontario lawyer, led a fight in that province to get the carbon tax out of former PC party leader Patrick Brown’s platform.
- 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.
- Derek Sloan: Conservative MP for the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington.
Additionally, former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird has publicly stated he is considering entering the race.