OTTAWA — Patrick Brown has been disqualified from the race to replace Erin O'Toole as leader of the federal Conservatives, the leadership election organizing committee announced late Tuesday.
Ian Brodie, the chair of the committee, announced the stunning move in a written statement that said the party had in recent weeks become aware of "serious allegations of wrongdoing" by the Brown campaign.
The allegations are related to the financing rules in the Canada Elections Act, Brodie said, but provided no further details.
The Brown campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday night. The most recent tweet from Brown, who is mayor of Brampton, Ont., was about campaign events in New Brunswick.
In his statement, Brodie said the chief returning officer for the party informed Brown of the concerns, requested a written response and decided to withhold the interim membership list from his campaign.
Brodie said the response from Brown's campaign did not satisfy the concerns and the chief returning officer recommended the leadership election organizing committee disqualify him, which it opted to do.
Brodie said the party will be sharing what it has with Elections Canada.
He said both he and the party's chief returning officer did their best to be fair to Brown, who is a former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, and provide time to refute the allegations.
"None of these problems has any impact on the integrity of the vote itself," Brodie said.
"While we felt it important to provide a transparent response to party members about this matter, because this issue is now subject to further investigation, we will not be speaking further on the subject."
The Conservatives will announce the winner of the leadership race in Ottawa on Sept. 10.
The other five candidates in the race are Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison, who are all Conservative MPs from Ontario, as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest and Roman Baber, a former Independent member of the Ontario legislature.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press