Chong doesn’t rule out another leadership election

OTTAWA — Conservative lawmaker and former leadership contender Michael Chong said he has not ruled out other possibilities of running for the top job, as different candidates prepare to meet tonight with potential backers.

Former Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest will meet lawmakers and senators in Ottawa at a reception planned by two caucus members who want him to enter the race to become the next Tory leader.

So far, only Pierre Poilievre, a well-known Conservative from the Ottawa area, has officially declared his intention to enter the contest, which has yet to officially start.

A Conservative committee still has to set the rules of the race and make the all-important decision about how long the contest will last.

Quebec Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu said he believed the election should last until September to provide an opportunity for candidates from outside the caucus to enter, including Charest, as well as political commentator Tasha Kheiriddin, who is considering running as a candidate.

Heading into today’s Conservative caucus meeting, Chong said he had not ruled out running again as leader, but said his immediate focus was on his role as a foreign affairs critic.

He said the focus of the two was “thinking about, in the coming weeks, what I can do to help my party and my country.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 2, 2022.

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