Patrick Brown appeals Conservative leadership disqualification despite party rules

He was seen as one of the Conservative party's front runners, but the federal Conservatives have disqualified Patrick Brown from the party's leadership race. Abigail Bimman explains why, how Brown is fighting back and whom he's blaming.

Patrick Brown is appealing his disqualification from the Conservative leadership race, despite the party’s election rules stating that all decisions by the leadership election organizing committee (LEOC) are final.

Brown’s legal counsel sent two notices of appeal to Ian Brodie, chair of the LEOC, and chief returning officer Don Nightingale respectively, which were obtained by Global News.

“It is profoundly disturbing that Mr. Brown only learned of your recommendation from media reports last night after LEOC accepted your recommendation and purported to disqualify him,” the notice to Nightingale reads.

The Conservative Party announced on Tuesday night that Brown has been disqualified from the race after the chief returning officer (CRO) investigated allegations of Brown violating financial provisions of the Canada Elections Act.

Read more:

Brown lashes out at Conservatives, Poilievre after disqualification: ‘Not a fair election’

According to section 3.1.110 of the 2022 Conservative Party of Canada Leadership Election rules, “all decisions of the LEOC are final and are not subject to internal appeal or judicial review.”

This also means that courts are unlikely to intervene in party matters. Political parties as private organizations are free to set their own rules and handle disputes. (Campaign financing is the primary exception to that.)

The rules state the party’s dispute resolution appeals committee can intervene in all matters except disqualification, which are at the sole discretion of the CRO and the LEOC.

Section 7.1.6 of the rules also states that if a candidate decided to take legal action against the party, the candidate’s compliance deposit may be affected and the candidate may lose entitlement to any future-directed contributions.

Brown told Global News Wednesday his disqualification was based on a “phantom allegation” that he has not been able to respond to, and accused the party of working to ensure rival candidate Pierre Poilievre’s victory.

Poilievre’s campaign has denied any involvement in the allegation or the party’s decision to disqualify Brown, while the party says it has received multiple allegations of wrongdoing against Brown’s campaign.

— With files from Global’s David Akin

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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