Coronavirus: Tory leadership contender drops out, citing growing pandemic

Conservative leadership candidate Rudy Husny called off his campaign Thursday, saying it is just not right to ask people for money during a public health emergency.

His announcement came as Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis and Conservative MP Derek Sloan joined Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay on the ballot for the June 27 vote, with less than a week to go for contenders to make the cutoff.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent most of the country into lockdown, among other things forcing the cancellation of mass gatherings — including the all-important kinds of get-togethers that are crucial in a leadership race.

But so far, the Conservative party has refused to budge on the March 25 deadline for candidates to pay $300,000 in fees and submit 3,000 signatures to be eligible to run.

One reason? The party’s constitution requires the option of mail-in ballots for the vote, and that’s how the vast majority of members did vote in the 2017 contest, won by Andrew Scheer.

Party officials feel that since there are candidates who have met the requirements, and that mail-in ballots currently remain a viable choice, they can stick to the deadline.

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