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Patrick Brown disqualified from Conservative leadership race

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Patrick Brown, a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race, has been disqualified, according to a statement released by the party on Tuesday.

Brown currently serves as the mayor of Brampton, Ont.

In the statement, Ian Brodie, chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), states that Brown was disqualified after the chief returning officer investigated allegations against the Brown campaign of violating the financial provisions of the Canada Elections Act.

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The chief returning officer asked Brown’s campaign for a written response and withheld the interim membership list from his campaign, according to the statement.

“The information provided to date by the Patrick Brown campaign did not satisfy concerns about their compliance with our Rules and Procedures and/or the Canada Elections Act,” writes Brodie.

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“The Chief Returning Officer has therefore recommended to LEOC that LEOC disqualify Patrick Brown and earlier tonight LEOC agreed to do so.”

Brodie added that the Conservatives will be sharing the information regarding Brown’s alleged violations with Elections Canada.

“Throughout the investigation into these allegations, the Chief Returning Officer and I have done our best to be fair to the Patrick Brown leadership campaign and provide them with the time they need to substantively refute these allegations,” states Brodie.

“We regret having to take these steps but we have an obligation to ensure that both our Party’s rules and federal law are respected by all candidates and campaign teams. None of these problems has any impact on the integrity of the vote itself.”

Brodie concluded that the Conservative Party “will not be speaking further on the subject” as the issue is “subject to further investigation.”

The current Conservative leadership race comes after former leader Erin O’Toole stepped down on Feb. 2 after the majority of the caucus voted for his removal.

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Early Wednesday morning, Brown’s campaign released a statement through spokesperson Chisholm Pothier on Twitter.

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The campaign said they had just learned about the LEOC’s “secret meeting” and its decision to disqualify Brown through the media.

“We were not present at the meeting, nor were given an opportunity to defend ourselves before the LEOC,” it reads. “This decision is based on anonymous allegations. Our campaign was never provided with the full details or evidence of these allegations, failing an even basic requirement of due process.”

The statement further alleges that the Conservative Party is “expecting a coronation for Pierre Poilievre.”

Poilievre, one of the five remaining candidates in the leadership race, was a senior cabinet minister in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government and has served as a member of Parliament for seven terms.

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“When the final membership numbers came in, it became clear Poilievre did not have the points to win this race,” Brown’s campaign alleged. “The attempt to silence Canadians and skirt democratic values through this unfounded disqualification is the only way to ensure his victory is secured.”

Brown’s campaign said it is consulting its legal team at this time.

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