Nova Scotia Tory leader to be chosen at late October convention in Halifax
The leadership committee co-chairs unveiled details about the race at the party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.
Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:00PM AST
Last Updated Sunday, February 11, 2018 6:29PM AST
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives have announced that the provincial party's next leader will be decided at a convention in late October.
Leadership committee co-chairs Tara Erskine and Chris d'Entremont unveiled details about the race at the party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Sunday.
They said each of the province's 51 constituencies will count for 100 points, to be allocated based on the proportion of votes each candidate receives from party members in that area.
The votes will be tallied at the PC Party's convention in Halifax over Oct. 26 and 27, and the candidate who wins the majority of the 5,100 points available will become the next leader of Nova Scotia's Tories.
D'Entremont, who is also the MLA for Argyle-Barrington, said the system, which was modeled after the federal Tory leadership vote in 2017, creates an "equality of ridings" that is meant to give candidates an incentive to build support for the party in every part of Nova Scotia.
"Ultimately, we're going to want to go out in those constituencies and build them. I mean, we need to have members across this province in order to make all of this work," he told reporters.
Erskine said members can mail in ballots that rank the candidates in order of preference, or they can vote with multiple ballots at the convention, which she hopes will lead to an air of excitement as the final results are tallied.
Members must register with the party by Sept. 11 to vote in the leadership race, and individual residents of Nova Scotia can make campaign contributions up to a maximum of $5,000.
Five candidates are vying for the top spot in Nova Scotia's PC Party. Erskine said it's the widest field the party has seen, and he was pleased to note that two of the contenders are women.
"I think it's a really exciting time for the party, a time of renewal," she told reporters. "It's a great sign to see so many great, quality candidates stepping forward, and there may even be more to come."
Former provincial Tory leader Jamie Baillie had announced plans last fall to step down after serving as Tory leader since 2010, but he resigned suddenly last month after a party investigation determined he had acted inappropriately and breached the legislature's policy on workplace harassment.
Three members of the PC caucus in Nova Scotia's legislature have entered the contest, including veterans Tim Houston and John Lohr, and rookie MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.
Smith-McCrossin had been the first woman to ever run for the party's top job, and she was joined Thursday by Julie Chaisson, executive director of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.
Cape Breton Mayor Cecil Clarke, a former Tory cabinet minister under premiers Hamm and Rodney MacDonald, has also thrown his hat in the ring.
The four candidates who were on hand after Sunday's announcement said they had no qualms with the party's rules, and expressed excitement that the race was officially getting underway.