Patrick Brown campaign officially endorses Charest after disqualification

‘But at the end of the day Jean Charest has the best chance to stop Pierre Poilievre extremism,’ a statement from Brown says

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Patrick Brown’s campaign confirmed on Tuesday that it endorses Jean Charest as federal Conservative leader in hopes of defeating Pierre Poilievre, with Charest promising to offer a “home” to the tens of thousands of politically homeless Brown supporters.

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In a message sent to members Tuesday evening, the Brown campaign reiterated its intention to “pursue all legal options” to reinstate Brown as candidate after his disqualification last week, but admitted that their efforts will likely not succeed before the end of the voting period this summer.

“If that is the case, Patrick has been clear he would support any new leader of the CPC except Pierre Poilievre. If it comes to that, he will be voting for Jean Charest,” read the statement.

The statement added that Brown encourages his supporters to “stay involved, do their research and make their own choice for next leader of the party,” while noting that he has “high regard” for Leslyn Lewis who he considers a friend and “great admiration” for Scott Aitchison’s policies.

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“But at the end of the day Jean Charest has the best chance to stop Pierre Poilievre extremism.”

Brown’s national co-chair and former MP John Reynolds also issued a statement on Tuesday to declare that he is throwing his support behind the former Quebec premier, arguing that he is the “best choice” to unite the party and form a Conservative government.

“There is no doubt in my mind Jean Charest is the unity candidate our Party needs,” he said.

“After watching this campaign unfold, it is clear to me he is now the only leadership candidate that is offering the Conservative Party of Canada a forward-looking vision with an electable path to government,” added Reynolds, who served briefly as interim leader of the opposition.

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Reacting to the endorsements, Charest tweeted that Brown’s 150,000 members who are “looking for a home” in the Conservative party would “find one” under his leadership. “I will offer them a voice and respect,” he promised.

Patrick Brown’s campaign confirmed on Tuesday that it endorses Jean Charest as federal Conservative leader in hopes of defeating Pierre Poilievre, with Charest promising to offer a “home” to the tens of thousands of politically homeless Brown supporters.

In a message sent to members Tuesday evening, the Brown campaign reiterated its intention to “pursue all legal options” to reinstate Brown as candidate after his disqualification last week, but admitted that their efforts will likely not succeed before the end of the voting period this summer.

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“If that is the case, Patrick has been clear he would support any new leader of the CPC except Pierre Poilievre. If it comes to that, he will be voting for Jean Charest,” read the statement.

The statement added that Brown encourages his supporters to “stay involved, do their research and make their own choice for next leader of the party”, while noting that he has “high regard” for Leslyn Lewis who he considers a friend and “great admiration” for Scott Aitchison’s policies.

“But at the end of the day Jean Charest has the best chance to stop Pierre Poilievre extremism.”

Brown’s national co-chair and former MP John Reynolds also issued a statement on Tuesday to declare that he is throwing his support behind the former Quebec premier, arguing that he is the “best choice” to unite the party and form a Conservative government.

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“There is no doubt in my mind Jean Charest is the unity candidate our Party needs,” he said.

“After watching this campaign unfold, it is clear to me he is now the only leadership candidate that is offering the Conservative Party of Canada a forward-looking vision with an electable path to government,” added Reynolds, who served briefly as interim leader of the opposition.

Reacting to the endorsements, Charest tweeted that Brown’s 150,000 members who are “looking for a home” in the Conservative party would “find one” under his leadership. “I will offer them a voice and respect,” he promised.

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Brown held a call with hundreds of his supporters late on Monday evening in which they discussed his recent disqualification from the leadership race.

During the call, Brown “spoke very highly of Charest”, his former political mentor, and his supporters expressed “overwhelming support” for Charest should their first choice remain disqualified from the race, according to Brown’s spokesperson Chisholm Pothier.

With some ballots already sent to members by mail, Brown’s supporters have to decide shortly who to support if their candidate remains disqualified. Pothier recently said that the news of Brown’s disqualification had provoked anger and incomprehension among supporters.

“Some are ripping up their memberships, some are asking for their money back, some are hoping the appeals process will rectify this wrong and some are joining other campaigns,” Pothier told the National Post on Monday, before the call took place.

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But even though he is endorsing Charest, that does not mean all his supporters will follow. Even before his disqualification, Brown had lost some early supporters – with some choosing to endorse his main rival Pierre Poilievre instead.

One of Brown’s Ontario co-chairs, Greg Marcos, resigned from his position in May because of “fundamental political differences”. His organization, the Canadian Coptic Foundation, came out a few days ago to encourage members to put Poilievre as their first choice.

Ontario Conservative MPs Kyle Seeback and Dan Muys defected from the Brown campaign last month to join Poilievre.

Brown’s national co-chair Michelle Rempel left the Brown campaign to pursue a potential leadership bid in Alberta, but decided not to run. Sean Schnell also stepped down as Brown’s former campaign manager to follow Rempel Garner. Both have not supported any other candidate.

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The last sitting MP to support Brown – Doug Shipley – said last week that while the news regarding Brown’s disqualification was “deeply troubling”, he respected the decision made by the leadership committee regarding the candidate’s candidacy.

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Brown’s campaign made it clear that the candidate was not dropping out of the race and denied any allegations of wrongdoing, even going as far as accusing the party establishment of working against them.

Brown was disqualified from the contest last week by Conservative party members on a committee overseeing the leadership race.

The party acted after a whistleblower, longtime party activist, Debra Jodoin, alleged she was paid by an outside corporation when she was working for Brown’s campaign – which is prohibited according to Canada’s election rules.

Brown’s campaign hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein, who called for a swift meeting of the party’s dispute resolution appeal committee. The party is reviewing whether the committee has jurisdiction to do so, and has retained independent counsel to advise them on that matter.

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The case has also been transferred to Canada’s elections commissioner.

Brown held a call with hundreds of his supporters late on Monday evening in which they discussed his recent disqualification from the leadership race.

During the call, Brown “spoke very highly of Charest”, his former political mentor, and his supporters expressed “overwhelming support” for Charest should their first choice remain disqualified from the race, according to Brown’s spokesperson Chisholm Pothier.

With some ballots already sent to members by mail, Brown’s supporters have to decide shortly who to support if their candidate remains disqualified. Pothier recently said that the news of Brown’s disqualification had provoked anger and incomprehension among supporters.

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“Some are ripping up their memberships, some are asking for their money back, some are hoping the appeals process will rectify this wrong and some are joining other campaigns,” Pothier told the National Post on Monday, before the call took place.

But even though he is endorsing Charest, that does not mean all his supporters will follow. Even before his disqualification, Brown had lost some early supporters – with some choosing to endorse his main rival Pierre Poilievre instead.

One of Brown’s Ontario co-chairs, Greg Marcos, resigned from his position in May because of “fundamental political differences”. His organization, the Canadian Coptic Foundation, came out a few days ago to encourage members to put Poilievre as their first choice.

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Ontario Conservative MPs Kyle Seeback and Dan Muys defected from the Brown campaign last month to join Poilievre.

Brown’s national co-chair Michelle Rempel left the Brown campaign to pursue a potential leadership bid in Alberta, but decided not to run. Sean Schnell also stepped down as Brown’s former campaign manager to follow Rempel Garner. Both have not supported any other candidate.

The last sitting MP to support Brown – Doug Shipley – said last week that while the news regarding Brown’s disqualification was “deeply troubling”, he respected the decision made by the leadership committee regarding the candidate’s candidacy.

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Brown’s campaign made it clear that the candidate was not dropping out of the race and denied any allegations of wrongdoing, even going as far as accusing the party establishment of working against them.

Brown was disqualified from the contest last week by Conservative party members on a committee overseeing the leadership race.

The party acted after a whistleblower, longtime party activist, Debra Jodoin, alleged she was paid by an outside corporation when she was working for Brown’s campaign – which is prohibited according to Canada’s election rules.

Brown’s campaign hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein, who called for a swift meeting of the party’s dispute resolution appeal committee. The party is reviewing whether the committee has jurisdiction to do so, and has retained independent counsel to advise them on that matter.

The case has also been transferred to Canada’s elections commissioner.

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