National News

Patrick Brown requests party probe 'misleading' membership email from Poilievre

By The Canadian Press

Published 11:51 PDT, Thu June 23, 2022

Patrick Brown's leadership campaign is the latest to raise concerns about what it calls "misleading" emails sent to party members by his main rival. 

Brown's national campaign co-chair John Reynolds sent a letter Thursday to the party's leadership election organizing committee requesting it investigate emails sent by Pierre Poilievre's campaign ahead of last month's deadline to sell $15 memberships to supporters. 

To vote for the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the party had said supporters needed to be signed up as members no later than June 3. 

Poilievre's campaign has said it alone sold nearly 312,000 memberships, including some 119,000 in Ontario. 

But Reynolds' letter alleges Brown's campaign received a "number of complaints" from members who said they purchased new memberships after receiving what appeared to be an "official-looking warning" from Poilievre's team that their membership status was incomplete.

The email specifies it is from Poilievre’s campaign.

A spokesman for Poilievre's team said the email in question went to people who were not members "according to our own records."

"We would gain no advantage in signing up a person who is already a member," wrote Anthony Koch. "They would still only get to vote once."

Poilievre has also requested the party release numbers for how many members his team signed up, which it has so far declined to do. 

Campaigns are expecting to receive the national voters list around July 4, about one month after the deadline passed for supporters to purchase memberships. 

In the meantime, Conservatives are bracing for having a possible voting base of more than 600,000, which is record-breaking for the party. 

The campaign of fellow MP Leslyn Lewis, who finished third in the 2020 leadership race, has also raised concerns about the possible existence of "tens of thousands" of duplicate memberships and believe the email from Poilievre is a contributing factor. 

Another factor is the party’s processing delays for membership sales, said Mike Coates, chairman of former Quebec premier Jean Charest's leadership campaign.

In his own letter to the head of the party's leadership election organizing committee, Coates said some who bought a membership bought a duplicate because they did not receive a timely confirmation. 

– Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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