Power & Politics

Vetting process not meant to keep people out of the leadership race, says Conservative official

Conservative leadership hopefuls must complete a 45-page questionnaire before their candidacy is approved, but the purpose of the vetting process is not to keep people out of the race, says the leadership committee's co-chair.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner wants Richard Décarie blocked over his comments about LGBTQ people.

The Conservative Party will choose its new leader on June 27, but before the voting begins a party committee will vet potential candidates with a 45-page questionnaire. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Conservative leadership hopefuls must complete a 45-page questionnaire before they're cleared to run — but the function of that vetting process is not to bar people from the race, an official on the party's leadership election organizing committee said today.

"The purpose of the committee is not to exclude people," Dan Nowlan told Vassy Kapelos in an interview with CBC's Power & Politics Tuesday. "So fundamentally, unless somebody does something that's disqualifying ... generally speaking, I think Conservatives want the members to have the right to decide who ... should lead the party."

On Friday, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner called on the leadership committee to block the candidacy of Richard Décarie over his comments about LGBTQ people.

Décarie said he thinks being gay is a choice and that if he ever becomes prime minister, he would work to "clarify" the laws on marriage in Canada.

"I think marriage should be exclusive between a man and a woman, like it was traditionally. The base of a family that is the base of a society," he told Power & Politics on Thursday.

Rempel Garner said those comments should disqualify Décarie from running.

"If he had made those statements as a candidate during the federal election, he would have been turfed. So why should he be allowed to run?" she said.

"He's on the record saying that he would use his position in the federal government to impose discriminatory policies on Canadians and that is actually the antithesis of our founding principles." 

Nowlan said there are no specific questions about attitudes toward sexuality in the candidate questionnaire, but added candidates must concur with party policy.

"Those types of issues are more addressed when you have to attest that you agree with the Conservative Party of Canada's philosophies."

Watch Vassy Kapelos' full interview with Dan Nowlan about the candidate vetting process: 

Conservative Party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee co-chair Dan Nowlan explains the vetting process for candidates. 7:47

now