Sarnia-Lambton MP’s leadership bid ends in midst of pandemic

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu speaks at the Sarnia Riding Club. June 21, 2019. (BlackburnNews photo by Colin Gowdy)

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu is no longer running for the leadership of the federal Conservative party.

The deadline for candidates to get on the ballot was Wednesday, March 25. They were required to submit 3,000 party member signatures and $300,000 by 5 p.m. to make the cut.

Gladu said she’s extremely disappointed the party has decided to move forward with the race in the middle of a pandemic.

“People are losing their jobs, they’re losing their businesses, they’re losing their lives and nobody is paying attention to the leadership race,” said Gladu. “The day that Parliament was suspended, I had 25 events immediately cancelled, most of them fundraisers. So without the ability to meet together because of social distancing, obviously I could not raise the funds or get the list to be able to get additional signatures.”

She said the race should have been postponed or delayed as Canadians deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

“I called upon the party for the last three weeks, as did five of the seven candidates including two that are on the ballot, but the party is tone-deaf to what Canadians are experiencing,”

Conservative Party members will have four candidates to choose from, Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, MP Erin O’Toole, former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and MP Derek Sloan.

Gladu said she is very proud of her hard-working campaign team and the policy platform they brought forward, but she will not consider another leadership bid in the future.

During a meeting Thursday night, the party’s organizing committee made the decision to suspend the race.

A new date to select a leader to replace Andrew Scheer, who resigned last December, has not been set.