Conservative Party Chooses New Leader Tomorrow

The Conservative Party of Canada will choose a new leader at its convention in Toronto tomorrow.

After months of touring the country and numerous debates, there are still 13 candidates in the running.

The party convention opens today with numerous speeches and the voting takes place tomorrow.

The complex system involves ranked balloting, where voters make 2nd and 3rd choices as well as their top preference.

University of Windsor Political Science Professor Lydia Miljan says the voting also happens in several locations across the country and there could be as many as 7 rounds of counting.

She says that dilutes the interest that a political convention often generates and she feels it is a missed opportunity.

Miljan says the party faces a challenge of making their new leader a familiar face because none of the candidates is a household name.

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Final debate of Conservative Party leadership candidates (via Conservative party website)

She says the ranked ballot system makes the eventual winner unpredictable:  "there is no way to know what people's second, 3rd or 4th choices are and how they stack up against the first place runners.  A lot of scenarios I've seen do show that Bernier's in the lead but there certainly is a possibility Andrew Scheer could come up but in ranked ballots you could have 3rd or 4th place runners come up the middle"

Miljan says depending on who is chosen as leader, there is a potential for a rift within the party.

Polling indicates Maxime Bernier is in the lead with Andrew Scheer and Erin O'Toole next and the other 10 well back.

Aside from the leadership issue, the Conservative Party is in good shape with 260,000 members eligible to vote.