OTTAWA – Candidate Patrick Brown, who has been disqualified from the Canadian Conservative Party (CPC) leadership race, said he is evaluating his options to challenge the organizing committee’s decision to exclude him from the process. He also declared loudly and clearly that his team scrupulously respected all the electoral rules of the party and Canada.
The race’s organizing committee made the decision, in a vote split 11-6 on Tuesday night, to disqualify Brown over what committee chair Ian Brody called “serious allegations of wrongdoing”.
On Wednesday, Chinese Communist Party chief Rob Patterson confirmed that the allegations came from someone on Brown’s campaign team.
Neither Mr. Brody nor Mr. Paterson or the Communist Party have detailed the allegations against Patrick Brown. The party and committee now face a barrage of questions from several members as well as the campaign team of former Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest, who want more information.
So far, Mr. Brody has only said the allegations relate to the funding rules of Elections Canada, and so the information will be passed on to Elections Canada.
Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, Ontario, spent Wednesday giving interviews to the media. He told The Canadian Press that the race’s organizing committee, which sets the rules, had received advice from an anonymous source that someone working on his campaign would be paid by a private company.
Concerns were first raised last week with Brown’s campaign team about his funding.
The candidate requested details of the identity of the employee involved in the allegation or the company allegedly involved in the scheme, but no details were provided.
In his statement released after the disqualification vote, Ian Brody said the party’s return officer had informed Brown of his concerns and requested a written response. Reportedly, Brown’s campaign response did not allay fears, and the returning officer then recommended dropping him from the race.
According to Patrick Brown, his team also had to respond to other allegations from the party that the collaborators were also employees of the Brampton Municipal Office. In such a case, his team made sure that the contribution to the campaign was outside working hours in the town hall.
Brown accused the party of engaging in a “hunting expedition” against his clan, but emphasized that it “always complied with all the outlandish requests and baseless allegations” from the organizing committee.
“I’m angry, I’m disappointed. It’s unbelievable that such a thing could happen,” he said of his incompetence.
“We think we were close to winning the race. We thought we had an excellent track.”
The former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario notes that his team has recruited more than 150,000 new members for the Chinese Communist Party. Many are from cultural minorities in major cities across the country, where the party struggled to find support in the recent federal election.
On allegations that a member of his team received salaries from a company, Mr. Brown replied that his team had 1,800 volunteers across the country and that it was difficult to monitor what each person was doing.
“If there’s anyone the party knows is working for our campaign rather than hiring them, we’d be very happy to refund all costs, but it’s hard to respond to allegations we don’t know their content,” he said. .
His team consulted legal experts to assess possible solutions to overturn the decision, but the chances are slim. According to the rules of the race, there does not appear to be an appeal process.
“There are many allegations and accusations (…) that have been made,” party spokesman Jaroslav Baran told the Canadian Press.
He said he was not at all surprised to see Brown “sand in the air” with his accusations that the situation had been handled unfairly.
“I can tell you that there are different classes of alleged abuse, and the[Conservative Race Regulation]committee had to make a decision based on their assessment of the nature of the allegations, the credibility of those who made the allegations, etc.”
Mr Barran said the list of party members brought to campaigning last week – a very important document that candidates use to persuade party members to vote for them – was not submitted to Mr Brown’s campaign because he allegedly violated race rules.
Patrick Brown is blaming supporters of his rival, Pierre Poilifri, who are seeking to eliminate him from the race. He claims that the Chinese Communist Party establishment wants to crown Boelivri.
Poliver’s campaign released its own statement on Wednesday, saying Brown was attacking the party and trying to “turn himself into a victim.”
“In the current situation, the only people who know the true extent of the reasons for Patrick’s disqualification are Patrick and (the Leadership Contest Organizing Committee).”
Mr Brown also finds himself in trouble with his critics at the municipal level, when five Brampton City Council members planned a press conference in the afternoon. In a statement, they claimed, “Our beautiful city is again in the national news for all the wrong reasons because of Patrick Brown.”
The Conservatives will announce the winner of the leadership race on September 10 in Ottawa.
Besides Messrs. Poilievre and Charest, the other candidates still in competition are MLAs Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison, as well as Roman Paper, former independent member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
Patrick Brown’s name will remain on the ballot as many members have already been mailed.
The party said last week that about 675,000 members had registered to vote for a new Conservative leader. The political party described this as an unprecedented number for any federal political party.
The pool of members eligible to vote in 2020, when Erin O’Toole was elected leader, was about 270,000. At the beginning of this year, the party said it had 161,000 active members across Canada. About 48,000 of the membership cards were due to expire before the membership deadline in June.
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