Canada

With an election on the horizon, Poilievre’s Conservatives sign up dozens of new candidates

The next federal election could be more than a year away but political parties are already deep into planning their next campaigns — and recruiting new candidates.

Well ahead in the polls and reporting record-breaking sums in political donations, the Conservatives are also leading the pack on nominating candidates new to federal politics.

To date, the Conservative Party of Canada has nominated about 40 new faces as candidates. The party currently has 118 members of Parliament.

Elections Canada records, coupled with publicly available information, show the Conservatives have been naming new candidates almost every week since the beginning of the year, especially in Ontario and British Columbia.

Enoch Cree Chief Billy Morin is running for the Conservatives in Edmonton Northwest. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

The newly-recruited Conservative candidates include:

  • Chief Billy Morin, the youngest chief in Enoch Cree Nation’s modern history. He’s running in Edmonton Northwest, a new riding created in the most recent electoral boundary shuffle. The poll aggregator website Canada338 says the riding is likely to go blue.

  • Karen Stintz, a former longtime Toronto city councillor; she’s nominated in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. She was also the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission. The riding currently is held by Liberal MP and former cabinet minister Marco Mendicino.

  • Eric Lefebvre, the former Quebec government whip, who is running in the central Quebec riding of Richmond-Arthabaska. The seat currently is held by Alain Rayes, who left the Conservative caucus shortly after Pierre Poilievre was elected party leader.

  • Jessy Sahota, a decorated law enforcement officer, athlete and coach. He’s running in the B.C. riding of Delta. Sahota has shared his story of being expelled from school at age 12 and his later career in law enforcement, where he works with at-risk youth. Sahota was named one of the top 40 police officers under 40 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The riding currently is held by Liberal cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough.

  • Matthew Strauss, an outspoken critical care doctor, who is running in Kitchener South–Hespeler, an Ontario riding currently represented by Liberal MP Valerie Bradford. Strauss has been a critic of the public health response to COVID-19 and is suing his former employer, Queen’s University, claiming “malicious, aggressive, condescending and defamatory statements.” The social media platform X has agreed to fund Strauss’s lawsuit “to vindicate his free speech rights without fear of unfair retaliation.”

Other new Conservative nominees include a former provincial Progressive Conservative leader, the former mayor of Trois-Rivières and a British Columbia MLA.

Pollster Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute, said being able to attract new candidates is a sign of the Conservative Party’s political momentum.

“When you’ve got a 20-point gap in terms of polling across a number of different polls, there’s one party that looks like it’s got that momentum,” she said.

It’s not clear how many current Conservative MPs are reoffering, or how many have been nominated already. A handful of Conservative MPs — including Colin Carrie, Ed Fast, Ron Liepert and Gary Vidal — have said they’re not reoffering.

The party came in for criticism last week when a former journalist dropped out of the race for the nomination in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, claiming the process had been “corrupted.” The party has rejected Sabrina Maddeaux’s claim.

The Conservative Party did not respond to a request for comment about their nomination process. 

Nominees — but no new faces — for the Liberals

Liberal Party spokesperson Parker Lund provided a list of 88 nominees for the next federal election. So far, all of the nominees are current members of Parliament.

Most of the Liberal cabinet, including Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, are on the list to reoffer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not yet nominated in his longtime Montreal riding of Papineau.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces new affordability measures, as he concludes the national Liberal caucus retreat in London, Ontario.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a Liberal caucus meeting in 2023. (Sylvain Lepage/CBC News)

Some other cabinet ministers not yet nominated in their ridings include Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Minister Gudie Hutchings and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya’ara Saks. 

Parties don’t need to nominate candidates until the writ period begins. And given that the next election may not happen until the fall of 2025, current MPs have plenty of time to make up their minds.

In a media statement, Lund said the Liberals will “have more announcements in the weeks and months ahead.”

The Liberal Party requires that MPs hit certain quotas before they’re eligible to run as incumbents and bypass a competitive nomination process. Those quotas include a certain amount of door-knocking, fundraising and donor recruitment.

NDP ‘ahead of schedule’ with 42 nominees

In a statement, NDP national director Lucy Watson said the party is “ahead of schedule,” with 42 nominated candidates and six additional nomination meetings scheduled in the coming weeks.

Watson pointed to a handful of new candidates running under the party banner this time. They include Montreal city councillor Craig Sauvé (who is set to run in Liberal MP David Lametti’s former riding of Lasalle-Émard-Verdun), Mayor of Sooke, B.C. Maja Tait and Mary Shortall, the former president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour. 

Former Nova Scotia MLA Lisa Roberts is set to run in Halifax, and former Port Coquitlam, B.C. city councillor Laura Dupont is nominated to run in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam.

Of the 42 nominations, the party says 13 are incumbents. Five of the party’s incumbents have already announced they’re not reoffering: Richard Cannings, Randall Garrison, Charlie Angus, Carol Hughes and Rachel Blaney. A sixth, Daniel Blaikie, has left his role as an MP already to work with Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew.  

The party said another six nomination meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Bloc Quebecois: one nomination down, 77 to go

As the only recognized federal party that nominates candidates in just one province, the Bloc Quebecois’ task is relatively easy. Instead of running people in all 343 ridings, it only has to nominate 77 Quebec candidates.

In a media statement, Bloc press secretary Julien Coulombe-Bonnafous said the party has nominated Simon Bérubé in the Quebec City riding currently held by Liberal cabinet minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

Coulombe-Bonnafous said more nominations will be announced soon.

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