The deadline has come and gone for the Conservative leadership contenders to sign up new members.
Kevin O’Leary was first out of the blocks to declare his membership tally once the midnight deadline passed by sending out an email blast declaring he had signed up 33,336 members in 69 days.
None of his rivals had publicly indicated how many paid memberships they had attracted by early Wednesday morning.
In announcing his numbers, O’Leary also called on the other contenders to “release their accurate membership sales” and called on the Conservative Party to audit the membership list to ensure they conform to the rules.
The businessman and reality-TV star’s challenge follows the party recently removing more than 1,300 people from its membership rolls after a review found they hadn’t paid for the memberships themselves.
The Conservative party said it wasn’t possible to determine which campaign or campaigns were involved, since the memberships were purchased anonymously.
“Following the issue we brought to light earlier this month regarding sketchy organizers buying fraudulent memberships, it is critical that all campaigns adopt the highest standards of ethical conduct when reporting on their membership sales,” Mr. O’Leary said in his email.
The party has said it doesn’t expect to release the official membership numbers until some time in April.
Just over 251,000 people took out memberships in 2004 before Stephen Harper was elected to lead the party that resulted from a merger between the federal Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance.
The party is set to choose a permanent replacement for interim leader Rona Ambrose on May 27 through a preferential ballot.
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