Conservative Party leadership race is back on, with Aug. 21 deadline for mail-in ballots

The Conservative leadership race, paused by the COVID-19 outbreak, is now back on with a plan to choose a new leader in August.

However, it won’t be the bustling convention filled with party supporters, which is the hallmark of most leadership races.

The Conservative who will replace Andrew Scheer will be chosen entirely by mail-in ballot.

In a news release late Wednesday, the party said those ballots must be completed and received by Aug. 21.

The winner will be announced once the ballots are counted and examined by scrutineers. The counting process will respect physical distancing guidelines. The release did not indicate how long it could take to count mail-in ballots. 

Postponed by COVID-19

The party had planned to elect its new leader at a convention on June 27. However, in late March, with concern rising about the coronavirus outbreak, the race was put on hold.

Just four candidates are now vying to take over the party: Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis.

Lawyer Leslyn A. Lewis is one of four candidates for Conservative leader. (Greg Bruce/CBC News)

The party confirmed no new names will be added to that list, saying the May 15 deadline to sign up new members remains unchanged.

Long-shot leadership hopefuls Rick Peterson and Rudy Husny both dropped out of contention, complaining the party had failed to adequately take into account the impact the COVID-19 outbreak was having on concerns around fundraising and campaigning.

Conservative MP and leadership candidate Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in January. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)