Conservative leadership race enters its next phase amid Canada’s coronavirus pandemic

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The Conservative party is gearing up for the next phase of its leadership race, a contest taking place in unprecedented times.

Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to get on the ballot by getting 3,000 signatures, raising $300,000 and having their applications approved by party officials.

Four candidates crossed that threshold: Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, former cabinet minister and current MP Erin O’Toole, former cabinet minister and longtime MP Peter MacKay and current MP Derek Sloan.

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Three others who had been trying to get into the race, however, found their efforts hamstrung by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Marilyn Gladu, Rudy Husny and Rick Peterson all called multiple times for the party to extend the deadlines or postpone the contest, saying it was inappropriate for them to be campaigning at a time of crisis.

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Peterson subsequently dropped out, while Gladu and Husny had been waiting to see if the party made any changes ahead of the Wednesday deadline.

They didn’t, and Gladu and Husny’s names were removed Wednesday from the list of candidates.

Neither had immediate comment.

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3:28Coronavirus outbreak: Scheer calls on federal government to separate relief bill from other measures

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Coronavirus outbreak: Scheer calls on federal government to separate relief bill from other measures

The organizing committee for the leadership race must now decide how to roll out the rest of the race while the country is virtually on lockdown.

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