Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stands in the House of Commons during Question Period on Parliament in Ottawa, Monday.

Some Tories seek review of voting process

OTTAWA — Some Conservatives are calling for a review of the party’s leadership selection process after Andrew Scheer wound up winning with the support of less than 50 per cent of voting party members.

The Tories used a preferential system to choose a new leader from among the 14 contenders on the ballot. Voters could rank their choices from first to tenth, although they were not required to rank more than one or two if they so desired.

On each ballot, as the least popular candidate was eliminated, his or her supporters’ second and subsequent choices were counted; that process of redistributing votes continued until Scheer edged past Maxime Bernier on the 13th and final ballot.

According to figures released by the party, just over 141,000 Conservatives cast ballots during the leadership vote.

But by the 13th round, just over 118,000 ballots were still in play, with Scheer taking 62,593 of those votes to Bernier’s 55,544.

That means 23,000 voters hadn’t ranked either Scheer or Bernier among their top ten choices and their ballots were thus discarded by the time the field was winnowed down to the two finalists.

Hence, Scheer won with 44 per cent of the 141,000 party members who took part in the leadership vote.

Calgary Conservative MP Ron Liepert said the problem wasn’t with the ranked ballot system so much as it was with the unwieldy number of candidates.

“It was just too many candidates and people couldn’t really familiarize themselves (with them all) and so they just sort of said, ‘Well, I don’t want to vote for somebody as a second, third or fourth choice that I really don’t know,’” Liepert said Tuesday.

“So, I think that was the biggest problem.”

Liepert speculated that voters would have been more inclined to rank their choices if there had been fewer candidates to get to know and choose among.

For future races, Liepert said the party needs to look at introducing some sort of primary-type step to winnow a large field down to a more manageable number.

“Frankly, it just doesn’t work with that many candidates.”

Ontario Conservative MP Peter Van Loan said it’s impossible for party members to personally meet more than one or two candidates and, thus, it’s inevitable that some will rank only those contenders they feel they know well.

“It’s one of the challenges of doing one-member, one-vote,” he said.

Van Loan said he prefers the old-fashioned leadership conventions, where party members elect several thousand delegates to send to a convention. Under that process, candidates can actually personally contact every voter and delegates get a chance ”to look at these candidates up front, face to face.”

“I’ve always been a believer that delegated conventions are a superior process,” he said.

Although both said the leadership selection process should be reviewed, Liepert and Van Loan shrugged off any suggestion that Scheer’s victory lacks legitimacy due to the number of discarded ballots.

“He had a majority of the votes that were cast on the final ballot, he had a majority of the weighted vote,” Van Loan said.

“I think that there’s no argument for a false majority or a lack of a full mandate here. I think he’s got a full strong mandate.”

Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre prepares to open

Non-profit will run the facility and agencies will provide staff

A slow economic recovery isn’t yet loosening Central Alberta’s tight job market

Job-seekers at Red Deer fair say there are still few openings

Rocky Mountain House man arrested for child luring

A 30-year-old Rocky Mountain House man was arrested after allegedly having explicit… Continue reading

Parkinson association will close offices but maintain services

Offices closing in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Blackfalds RCMP arrest “armed and dangerous” man

A 38-year-old man, who police identified as armed and dangerous, was arrested… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month