Who's in so far in the Ontario PC leadership race

With the Ontario Progressive Conservatives set to choose their new leader on March 10, the race will be one of the shortest in Canadian history and possibly one of the most hostile.

Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford are in one of the shortest leadership races ever

Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney have thrown their hats in the ring to become leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives. (Chris Young, Justin Tang/Canadian Press)
With the Ontario Progressive Conservatives set to choose their new leader on March 10 — just six weeks after Patrick Brown's resignation over sexual misconduct allegations — the race will be one of the shortest in Canadian history, and possibly one of the most hostile. 

Power Panel on Ontario's PC leadership candidates

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Only days after Brown's departure as party leader, a member of Parliament and close friend of Brown called his ouster "an inside job" and claimed party officials are now trying to strip the memberships of tens of thousands of people. The interim leader said he would not run for the leadership to focus instead on "rooting out the rot." A nominated PC candidate also alleged an MPP harassed and intimidated her. 

Here are a few of the names already in the race.

Caroline Mulroney

Caroline Mulroney, the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, announced her intention to run to lead Ontario's Progressive Conservatives on Sunday. The move was widely expected since the race to find Brown's successor began. 

Mulroney hinted her intention to run for the leadership as recently as this weekend, thanking those who supported her candidacy on Twitter over the weekend but stopping short of formally announcing her plans until Sunday.

Caroline Mulroney appeals to younger voters, most of whom are not part of the party’s base. (CBC)

She also received an early endorsement Sunday evening from former head of Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Ajax PC candidate Rod Phillips, who said earlier he was considering a run to lead the party. 

"We have the opportunity to choose a determined, fresh and dynamic leader, in Caroline Mulroney," he said. "Caroline has my enthusiastic support, because she will unite our party and lead us to victory." 

Mulroney has a law degree from New York University and work experience on Wall Street, but has never held elected office and has only rarely faced the media, though she had a quick interview with CBC's Catherine Cullen at last year's federal Conservative leadership convention.

Christine Elliott

Former MPP Christine Elliott took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to announce her run for the party leadership in two words: "I'm in."  In order to run, Elliott has stepped down as Ontario's patient ombudsman — a position she was appointed to by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Elliott ran for the party's leadership twice but was defeated by Tim Hudak, and later by Patrick Brown. 

On Sunday, she told CBC News Network's The Weekly with Wendy Mesley that some members of Brown's campaign are now working with her, and that the party is coming together although people "are dispersing to different camps."

"There are people who are working on my campaign who worked with Patrick last time, and so I think that everybody is really sincere in their desire to work together to pull the party together and to make sure that we're ready to win an election in the next couple of months," she said.

Elliott, who was married to the late Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty, is also a former deputy leader of the PCs and represented Whitby–Oshawa from 2006 until her resignation in 2015.

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Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate Christine Elliott speaks to the CBC’s Wendy Mesley about her bid for the leadership, Vic Fedeli’s crusade to “root out the rot,” possible fake party memberships, and sexual misconduct within the party 7:06

Doug Ford

Doug Ford, brother of late Toronto mayor Rob Ford and a former Toronto city councillor, officially launched his bid for the leadership of the provincial Tories in a rally on Saturday. 

Ford told the crowd that Wynne's government is out of touch with Ontarians and stressed that he was the candidate to keep taxes low. He also announced that he would not introduce a carbon tax. 

"I will not support our policies that increase taxes and make life more expensive for each and every one of you," he said during Saturday's event. "We're going to make sure we don't have burden on families just trying to heat their homes. Folks, I'm not going to introduce a carbon tax."

Ford announced his candidacy early on, and political observers say the combination of name recognition, a well-defined message and open disdain for an unpopular government mean Ford could mount a credible challenge for the Tory leadership.

Doug Ford greets the crowd at Saturday's Rally for a Stronger Ontario. (Martin Trainor/CBC)


  • A previous version of this story stated that Christine Elliott is currently the province's medical patient ombudsman. In fact, she resigned the role in order to run in the Ontario PC leadership race.
    Feb 05, 2018 10:56 AM ET

With files from Mike Crawley, Andrea Janus, The Canadian Press and CBC News