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Conservatives suspend party's leadership race in face of COVID-19 crisis

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 7:46 pm PDT

A cowboy hat is left inside an empty ballroom at the Conservative national convention in Halifax on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

OTTAWA — The Conservative party is suspending its leadership race in the face of the ongoing crisis caused by COVID-19.

The party says it’s no longer possible to meet the deadlines to process memberships and donations, and handle the ballots for the scheduled June 27 election.

No new date has been set. The party says it will re-evaluate the decision on May 1.

Pressure had been mounting for days on the organizers to hit pause on the contest.

Demands the race be delayed came from two candidates on the ballot — Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan — as well as dozens of high-profile Conservatives and grassroots members.

Candidate Peter MacKay had instead pushed hard for the deadline to be moved up, while Leslyn Lewis, the fourth candidate on the ballot, has argued the deadlines as set should be respected.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press