Patrick Brown, one of the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, has been disqualified following allegations of financial wrongdoing.
Brown’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday denying it had done anything wrong, saying the disqualification “is reprehensible and undemocratic behavior that shatters the faith of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.”
Ian Brodie, chairman of the leadership election organizing committee, announced the startling decision late Tuesday night, saying the party had become aware of “serious allegations of wrongdoing” by the Brown campaign over the fundraising rules. the Canada Elections Act. He provided no further details.
In his statement, Brodie said the party informed Brown, who is the mayor of Brampton, Ont., of the concerns and requested a written response, which party officials found insufficient. The management election organizing committee decided to disqualify him in a vote held at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
The Brown campaign disputed that account, saying, “This decision is based on anonymous allegations,” and adding, “Our campaign has never received full details or evidence of these allegations, failing a very basic requirement of due process.”
The campaign said the move was intended to favor Pierre Poilievre, the longtime Ottawa-area MP considered a frontrunner in the race.
Poilievre’s campaign released its own statement on Wednesday, saying Brown is trying to “turn into a victim.”
The Conservatives will announce the winner of the leadership race in Ottawa on September 10. Former leader Erin O’Toole was forced to resign in February after a disappointing result in the 2021 election.
The other candidates in the running are Conservative MPs Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison, as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest and Roman Baber, a former independent member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
Last week, the party said around 675,000 members registered to vote for a new leader.