Ontario PCs announce 'open, transparent' voting process

The Ontario PC party says it will have an online, two-stage verification process for what it says will be an “open, transparent” voting process.

Tories also confirm leadership debate for Feb. 15

Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney have thrown their hat in the ring to become leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives. (Chris Young, Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Ontario PC party says it will have an online, two-stage verification process for what it says will be an "open, transparent" voting process. 

The party says that members will be mailed a verification number and will be asked to verify the membership information on file. Members will also be asked to send in a photographed or signed copy of identification documents to be able to vote once membership information is verified. 

"Our membership verification process is consistent with our commitment to ensure an open, democratic, and secure process as we select our next leader," Interim Ontario PC Leader Vic Fedeli said in a press release.

"I will continue to ensure our party is in a strong position for the incoming leader. I look forward to continuing towards our shared goal of defeating Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals and bringing the change Ontario families need."

Membership smaller than previously announced

The announcement of an online, two-stage verification process for voting comes after The Canadian Press reported that Fedeli said in an email to the PC caucus  that a check of the party's membership system showed the Tories with just over 133,000 members — some 67,000 fewer than claimed by former leader Patrick Brown less than a month ago.

Within hours of Brown's sudden resignation on Jan. 25, party IT workers shut down the Tories' membership management system to protect member information, Fedeli said. 

The Tories also confirmed that there will be a leadership debate broadcast on TVO on Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. The Agenda's Steve Paikin will host, and it will also be available on Facebook and Twitter.

The membership cut off date will be the next day on Feb. 16, with verification numbers mailed just days after. The voting period will span between March 2-8 with the leadership convention scheduled for March 10.

With files from The Canadian Press