OTTAWA -- Patrick Brown, one of the candidates for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party, has been disqualified over allegations of financial wrongdoing.
Brown’s campaign issued a statement Wednesday denying it had done anything wrong, saying the disqualification “is reprehensible, undemocratic behavior that breaks faith with hundreds of thousands of Canadians.”
Ian Brodie, chair of the leadership election organizing committee, announced the surprising move late Tuesday night, saying the party had learned of "serious allegations of wrongdoing″ by the Brown campaign involving financing rules in the Canada Elections Act. He provided no further details.
In his statement, Brodie said the party informed Brown, who is the mayor of Brampton, Ontario, of the concerns and requested a written response, which party officials found inadequate. The leadership's election organizing committee dopted to disqualify him in a vote held at a meeting Tuesday evening.
The Brown campaign disputed that account, saying, “This decision is based on anonymous allegations,,” and adding, "“Our campaign was never provided with the full details or evidence of these allegations, failing an even basic requirement of due process.”
The campaign said the decision was meant to favor Pierre Poilievre, the longtime Ottawa-area member of Parliament considered a front-runner in the race.
Poilievre’s campaign released its own statement Wednesday,saying Brown is trying to "make himself into a victim.″
The Conservatives will announce the winner of the leadership race in Ottawa on Sept. 10. Former leader Erin O’Toole was forced to resign in February after a disappointing 2021 election result.
The other candidates in the race are Conservative MPs Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison, as well as former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Roman Baber, a former independent member of the Ontario legislature.
Last week, the party said about 675,000 members have signed up to vote for a new leader.