Brampton Mayor Brown skips CPC leadership debate to sell party memberships


Published May 5, 2022 at 1:06 pm


Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is the only candidate vying for Tory leadership who won’t be attending a debate before a room of conservative faithful tonight (May 5).

While not an official leadership debate, the event is being hosted by the Canada Strong and Free Network as part of an annual conference taking place in Ottawa.

Brown’s campaign says he is busy selling memberships before a June 3 deadline when supporters must be a member in order to vote in the contest.

Appearing on stage Thursday night will be apparent leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber, Scott Aitchison.

The Canada Strong and Free Network was founded by Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party of Canada — a precursor to the Canadian Alliance, which merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the current Conservative party.

RELATED: A look at Brampton’s Patrick Brown and his pitch for selling Conservative party memberships

Pieces of that history may be on display during tonight’s debate, as the race has already seen accusations fly over whether some candidates are truly “Conservative.”

According to a recent poll, Charest is trailing behind Poilievre in the leadership race with 18 per cent of respondents saying Poilievre would “make the best leader for the Conservative Party,” compared to 16 per cent saying Charest would be their choice.

Brown had just 4 per cent support from respondents, according to the poll.

In a one-on-one interview with publisher Khaled Iwamura last week, Charest talked about his campaign, his relationship with Brown and what his healthcare, climate and military policies would be if chosen as leader and became prime minister of Canada.

Next week all six candidates must participate in the first of two official debates organized by the party.

With files from The Canadian Press

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