Candice Bergen has been the party’s interim leader since Erin O’Toole resigned in early February after the Conservative caucus voted to remove him as leader. The only confirmed candidate to date is Pierre Poilievre.
“I am building a team that will bring Canadians and our party together,” Aitchison told Global. “We are still waiting for the final rules from the (party’s leadership organizing committee) and I’ll have more to say in the days ahead.”
Leadership candidates must submit an application by Apr. 19, including a $200,000 entry fee and a $100,000 refundable deposit to ensure compliance with the rules of the race.
Candidates have until June 3 to sign up new party members. Ballots are expected to be mailed to members in late July or early August.
Aitchison was first elected to Huntsville council at the age of 21 and has spent most of his adult life as a career politician serving Huntsville and the District of Muskoka, and now Parry Sound-Muskoka. He was elected to Parliament in 2019 and reelected in 2021.
In his most recent Doppler column, Aitchison said, in part, “Canada is at a crossroads. I have never seen our country more divided and I believe that there are two paths our country can travel down.
“The first is a road of anger, hatred, fighting, and rhetoric. It’s a road of only listening to our own tribe and being unwilling to listen to other people’s ideas. Or we can travel down a second road and choose our better values. We can choose a road of hope, optimism, pluralism, and creativity. We can choose as Canadians to hear the other side, we can choose to respect differences of opinion. We can choose to value individual responsibility over static groupthink.”
The party’s new leader will be announced Sept. 10.
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