Would-be Tory leaders face scrutiny


OTTAWA – Get caught cheating on a test? Being sued by anyone? Support any groups calling for a province to secede from Canada? Hopefully not, if you aspire to lead the federal Conservative party.

On top of 300 signatures, a $50,000 application fee and the political will, would-be leadership candidates are required to submit an application to the party that’s more than 40 pages long.

They are asked for basics like education and work history, three references, credit and criminal records checks, a list of their social media accounts and everywhere they’ve ever published anything from a novel to a letter to the editor.

The application also asks detailed questions about political, personal and financial histories and associations. The Conservatives say the questionnaire is designed to help someone decide whether they should run and for the party to ask itself the same question of the potential candidate.

Ontario MP Kellie Leitch became the first to submit the application on Wednesday and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier is expected to follow suit on Thursday.

Whether or not they or future applicants are approved is up to a small committee of party members who have the right to disqualify a candidate for “any grounds it sees fit.”

One the application is approved, a candidate must also register with Elections Canada.

The party application says all answers will be kept confidential. Here’s a look at some of the questions:


  • Why do you want to be a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada?
  • Have you carefully and thoughtfully read the Conservative Party of Canada policy declaration? Are there any policies or principles with which you disagree? If yes, please explain. Are there other principles and policies not mentioned in the Conservative party policy declaration that you adhere to and wish to promote?
  • Have you had experience in public speaking, both to large and small groups, and if so, elaborate.
  • How do you plan to approach raising funds for your candidacy?
  • Do you support the views of, or have you ever had an association with, any groups that promote the secession of any province or region of Canada? If yes, please explain.
  • Have you been accused of, or been engaged in, activities that promote the discrimination or hatred against people on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religious, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or disability? If yes, please explain.
  • With which community or interest groups do you have strong personal relations?
  • Have you owned your own business? If yes, please explain.
  • Have you ever participated in an illegal strike?
  • Have you ever been denied security clearance by any government? If yes, please give details.
  • Are you, or will you be, a shareholder or officer in any company (other than a publicly traded company) having a contract or agreement with the Government of Canada? If yes, please give details.
  • Have you considered the implications of any conflict of interest requirements with which you may have to comply if elected and how you will deal with those requirements? If yes, how will you deal with this?
  • Have you ever been charged with or convicted of plagiarism, cheating on examinations or other conduct that was the subject of academic discipline? If so, provide details.
  • Is there anything in your personal, professional or business background that could cause embarrassment for the party, hinder your ability to perform, adversely affect your candidacy or the party, or demonstrate a lack of integrity if it became public knowledge during the campaign or if you should become a member of Parliament and leader of the party? If yes, please give details.

Candidates must also:

  • Agree not use the Conservative Party of Canada logo as a leadership contestant.
  • Agree they will “not seek the nomination of another political party, or run as an independent candidate, and will not endorse, campaign for or publicly support any opposing candidate or political party, in the next federal election.”
  • Agree that following the leadership election they will “take no steps, and make no comments whether public or amongst party personnel or members which could be interpreted or understood to oppose the elected leader in any way.”