September 27, 2022

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The Conservative Party of Canada has brought in independent legal counsel to help review whether one of its committees has the jurisdiction to hear Patrick Brown challenge his disqualification.


Brown has hired Marie Henein, a high-profile lawyer who successfully defended Jian Ghomeshi, among other clients.


Henein wrote to the party’s top brass last week requesting its dispute resolution appeal committee be convened and that an appeal date be set, asking to hear back no later than last Saturday.


Conservative spokesman Yaroslav Baran confirmed the party responded Friday night to say it has been looking into whether its appeals committee has the jurisdiction to field Brown’s bid.


“Independent counsel has therefore been retained to advise on this important question, which will guide the party’s response to Mr. Brown’s lawyers,” Baran wrote.


Brown’s campaign is considering what other avenues may exist to fight the party’s decision, which has seized its top officials since it was made.


A spokesman for Brown said over the weekend he won’t be making any decisions about running for re-election as a Greater-Toronto-Area mayor until he has time to talk with his friends and family.


Chisholm Pothier said Brown spent the weekend attending a multicultural festival in Brampton, Ont., located about 45 minutes from Toronto, and celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.


Brown entered the race without resigning his job as Brampton’s mayor, and previously said he would consider running again in October’s municipal election if he thought he couldn’t win the federal race.


He has until Aug. 19 to register as a mayoral candidate, but Brown’s position in the federal race changed dramatically last week when the party’s leadership election organizing committee voted to boot him from the contest.


Committee members ousted him in an 11 to six vote over an allegation that he breached federal election financing laws.


“He isn’t making any decisions until he has time to consult with friends and family,” Pothier wrote of Brown’s plans to seek a second term as mayor.


While the party didn’t release details behind the allegation, a longtime Conservative organizer came forward last week to say she reported Brown to the party, alleging he was involved in an arrangement that saw her get paid by a private company for doing work on his campaign.


Brown’s campaign said Conservative party brass refused to release the full details of the allegation, making it difficult to respond, and said it offered to reimburse the money paid to the organizer in question because it thought their work was done as a volunteer.


Since his disqualification, Brown has also accused the party of removing him to stack the odds in favour of longtime Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, seen as his main rival.


Both Poilievre and the party have dismissed his accusation.


Ian Brodie, chair of the leadership election organizing committee that voted to remove Brown, emailed party members last Friday to say Brown knew the allegations he was facing and the party needed to act because it couldn’t afford to have a candidate under investigation for breaking federal laws.


Meanwhile, the five remaining candidates in the race to become the party’s next leader flipped pancakes and greeted supporters at the Calgary Stampede, with less than two months to go until ballots are counted and the winner is named.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2022

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