Ontario Progressive Conservatives delay leadership race decision

After meeting on Saturday, the brass of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party decided organize a committee that will decide on rules surrounding the upcoming leadership race until August, at the earliest.

Interim PC leader Jim Wilson took over for departed leader Tim Hudak this month

MPP Jim Wilson, seen in a photo taken in February of last year, serves as the interim leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

The executive of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives is taking some more time to determine the timing of the party's upcoming leadership race.

The party brass met Saturday and decided to set up a committee to come up with a date for a leadership convention and the ground rules.

The committee will report back to the executive in August.

There are differing opinions in the Tory ranks about whether the party should hold a relatively quick leadership convention next January or February or wait a year or longer to provide time to rebuild and work on new policies.

MPP Christine Elliott, widow of the late MP Jim Flaherty, is the only candidate to publicly announce her intention to run for the leadership of the Ontario PC party. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
Sources told The Canadian Press a group of grass roots Conservatives is urging the executive to wait as long as possible so potential candidates have a chance to look for support and test their fundraising abilities.

Interim PC Leader Jim Wilson, who was elected by the caucus as caretaker this week to replace Tim Hudak following the Tories' second election loss under his leadership, has said he'd like to see a convention held "sooner rather than later."

Supporters of deputy Tory leader Christine Elliott, the only declared leadership candidate so far, are pushing for a convention early next year.

Several other caucus members have expressed interest in joining the race, including Lisa MacLeod, Vic Fedeli and Monte McNaughton, while some federal Conservatives are also said to be mulling over leadership bids.

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