It has been a dramatic couple of days in the Conservative Leadership race. In terms of the technicalities of the disqualification of Patrick Brown, as I said when other candidates were unable to join the race at the outset, I believe our party needs to be as transparent as legally possible in order to maintain the trust of party members.
Without all the information, I want to be careful about addressing the disqualification itself. Instead of discussing the accusations, or anything related to them, I think it’s more important to talk about how this has impacted you, the members of our party.
It is at the very least unsettling to have one of the candidates removed from the race at this point. Whether you got into the race to support Patrick, or if you had him lower on your ballot, his candidacy impacted how you were going to vote.
But our party is focused on ideas, not the cult of personalities. I believe that while candidates can motivate people to join the Conservative Party, people ultimately join because their values align with the values of our party. My plan has always been to connect with people on a policy and values level, and this includes reaching out to new conservatives that share our values.
While Patrick and I obviously didn’t agree on everything, like Patrick, I believe that our party’s tent needs to expand to include many new Canadians who have settled in large urban centres like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
Let me assure you: I went into this race with the intent to build a party that would have room for every Conservative and grow our big blue tent bigger than ever before, and I have every intention of doing that.
I am bringing new Canadians into our party because I understand them. I myself immigrated to Canada at age 5 and grew up here in an immigrant community. I worked and volunteered extensively within immigrant communities in the Greater Toronto Area. I understand the issues that matter to new Canadians, including the importance of family, faith, hard work and creating opportunities for future generations.
I have been connecting with our urban centres where we have struggled in previous elections.
I am confident we can grow our party because I’ve done it before. In 2020 I couldn’t have been more of a political outsider and instead of going after the established networks of Conservative voters, I sought to inspire new members who had previously tuned out of politics to join our party. I ended up winning the popular vote on the second ballot, ahead of the eventual winner Erin O’Toole, and one of the founding leaders of our party in Peter Mackay.
And we’re doing it at an even greater scale this time. I have sold more memberships, raised more money, and received more caucus endorsements than when I won the popular vote in 2020.
If we work together, we can build the kind of party that doesn’t just have room for everyone, but where everyone has a voice.