OTTAWA — Now that Andrew Scheer has revealed his decision to resign as Conservative leader, the party will start getting ready for the race to replace him.
“They will move as fast as reasonably possible,” said Cory Hann, director of communications for the Conservative party.
The national council, led by party president Scott Lamb, already met Thursday afternoon to figure out the next steps.
Scheer has made it clear he intends to remain as leader of the party until his successor is chosen.
That would appear to rule out the need to choose an interim leader, which is different from how things were handled when Stephen Harper resigned after his party lost power to the Liberals in the 2015 election.
At that time, former prime minister Stephen Harper stepped down immediately and the caucus chose Rona Ambrose to serve as interim leader. She moved into Stornoway, the residence of the leader of the official Opposition, until Scheer was chosen by the party membership in May 2017.
A top priority for the national council, after Scheer gives Lamb written notice he intends to resign, will be to choose the members of the leadership election organizing committee for this particular contest.
They are the ones who will decide the rules and procedures for the leadership race, including when it will start and how long it will take to finish.
The committee will also decide how long someone has to be a member of the Conservative party before they can cast a ballot.
They will also set the expense limits for each leadership candidate. The last time around, each contestant was allowed to spend up to $5 million.
The 2017 race also set the bar for entry to the race at $100,000. That included a $50,000 registration fee and a $50,000 compliance deposit, which was refundable so long as the candidate followed all the rules and submitted the necessary financial documents.
One of the biggest rules, which has been controversial in the past, is in the party’s constitution and so cannot be easily changed.
That has to do with how the votes are counted.
Each eligible member of the Conservative party gets one vote, which they cast through a ranked ballot, but not all votes are given equal weight.
Every one of the 338 electoral districts in the country is given 100 points, no matter how many members there are in the riding.
Each candidate is then assigned a total based on the percentage of the vote they received in each riding.
The candidate with a majority of points from across Canada wins the leadership race.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.
The Canadian Press
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