Okanagan Conservative MP who supported Maxime Bernier in 2017 tight-lipped this time | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan Conservative MP who supported Maxime Bernier in 2017 tight-lipped this time

Conservative MP Dan Albas, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
March 05, 2020 - 8:00 PM

Three years ago, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Conservative MP Dan Albas was quick to choose sides in his party's leadership race.

In December, 2016 he became a co-chair of Maxime Bernier’s B.C. campaign. That was a full five months before Bernier finished second to Andrew Scheer.

This time around, if Albas has a favourite to lead his party, he isn't saying. He says he isn't paying much attention to the race.

“I did (declare) last time and it was quite late in the process,” he told iNFOnews.ca yesterday, March 4. “We’re still in early days. To be fair, I’ve been very focused on what the people of my riding voted me in for — to see me working very hard on their behalf in Ottawa.”

He added that the party doesn’t yet know the final list of candidates.

In fact, the initial list was published last weekend but the candidates have until March 25 to meet all the conditions to be verified candidates.

The final vote is on June 27, less than four months away. That means, this is a bit later in the process than in 2017.

“People didn’t elect me to be playing internal politics,” Albas said.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod came out last week backing Ontario MP Erin O’Toole in the leadership race. North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold has also not publicly declared for any candidate.

The other "approved" applicants to run in the leadership race are Peter MacKay, Marilyn Gladu, Derek Sloan, Rudy Husny, Jim Karahalios, Rick Peterson and Leslyn Lewis.

To qualify as approved, applicants had to submit $25,000 and 1,000 signatures of party members. They have until March 25 to become “verified” candidates by paying a $200,000 registration fee, $100,000 “compliance deposit” and submit 3,000 membership signatures.

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