‘Ottawa’ Veteran MP Michael Chong expected to enter Conservative leadership race
OTTAWA — Veteran Tory MP Michael Chong has scheduled a news conference for Monday in Ottawa, when it’s expected he’ll officially announce his bid for the federal Conservative leadership.
Chong will be joined by his family at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa to “make an important announcement on the future of the Conservative Party of Canada,” according to a media advisory issued Friday afternoon.
Chong, a former cabinet minister in the early days of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, would join fellow Tory MPs Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch as the first candidates to announce their campaigns for the party crown.
Other former Conservative ministers — the likes of Jason Kenney, Peter MacKay, Tony Clement and Lisa Raitt — are also weighing potential leadership bids.
Chong, 44, would join a leadership race that is more a marathon than a sprint. The campaign will last more than a year and culminate with a leadership election on May 27, 2017.
The MP for the Wellington-Halton Hills riding in rural Ontario gained notoriety when he resigned from Harper’s cabinet in 2006 as minister of intergovernmental affairs and sport over his opposition to the government’s motion to recognize the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada.
Chong has also long championed the need for democratic reforms in Parliament that limit the power of the Prime Minister’s Office and party leaders over elected members of the House of Commons and their respective caucuses.
Tory leadership candidates have until Feb. 24, 2017, to officially enter the race and submit the required documents and signatures to the Conservative party.
Candidates need $100,000 to join the race, including a $50,000 registration fee and a $50,000 compliance deposit that is refundable if they follow the rules and submit required financial documents. There is a $5-million spending cap for each candidate.
The Conservative party will use a points system and preferential ballot to elect its new leader.
Each of the 338 electoral districts will be allocated 100 points regardless of its membership size, with those points in each riding being proportionately assigned to candidates based on how many votes they received from party members in that riding.