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News Brief

Wexit Party Leader Says He Cast a Vote For Conservative Leader Even Though He’s the Leader of Another Party

Conservative Party rules state that party members may ‘not hold membership in another federal party’

The new leader of Wexit, Canada’s western separatist party, admits he cast a ballot in Sunday’s Conservative leadership vote despite party rules forbidding members from holding membership in another party.

In an interview with CBC’s West of Centre podcast,  Wexit leader Jay Hill, a former Conservative MP, admitted he cast a ballot in the Conservative leadership race as a “last hurrah,” but said he would resign his membership in the Conservative Party after the vote because holding a membership in two parties is “unethical.”


Violation of Conservative Party rules? It remains unclear how the leader of another federal party is able to cast a ballot in the Conservative leadership vote.

According to the “Conditions of Membership” on the Conservative Party of Canada’s membership application forms, prospective party members must check a box confirming: “I do not hold membership in another federal political party.”

Conservative Party of Canada membership application

“I owed it to the past and the future to participate and cast a ballot”:  The Wexit party leader explained to CBC’s West of Centre that his decision to cast a ballot in another party’s leadership race was motivated by a sense of “civic duty”:

“Well, I wanted to, for my grand children and the well-being of Canadians in general, I wanted to stay and vote for who I felt was the best candidate in this leadership race that is wrapping up this weekend. And I felt, in fact, that it was a civic duty having been involved in the Conservative Party from its very birth, when it was a merger between Reformers and Progressive Conservatives, that I owed it to the past and the future to participate and cast a ballot.”

“Unethical to say the least”:  Despite casting a ballot in the Conservative leadership race, the Wexit leader plans to resign his membership after the race is concluded because “it would be unethical, to say the least, to belong to two federal parties”:

“I will be resigning my membership in the Conservative Party because, of course, I feel that going forward it would be unethical, to say the least, to belong to two federal parties unless there was some definite purpose to that. And I can’t foresee one, so I’ll be giving up my membership in the Conservative Party now that I cast my ballot for the leader of my choice.”

Deep roots in conservative politics: Hill was first elected as a federal MP in 1993  under Preston Manning’s Reform Party and later served as Government House Leader in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

In June, the Wexit Party quietly announced the resignation of previous leader Peter Downing and introduced Hill as the party’s interim leader. Only two hours after the surprise announcement was posted, the Calgary Herald’s Licia Corbella published a lengthy feature announcing that a “highly credible new leader has stepped forward to lead the Wexit movement.”

Old friends: Wexit leader Jay Hill with former Manning Centre directors Preston Manning, Rick Anderson, Monte Solberg and Chuck Strahl in 2011 (Facebook)

Not supporting Erin O’Toole: While Hill declined to reveal who he voted for, he did say he’s not supporting O’Toole after originally supporting his leadership bid, only suggesting “campaigns do matter” as the reason for his change of heart.

The other candidates for leader were Peter MacKay, Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan.

No comment: Neither Hill nor the Conservative Party of Canada responded to questions from PressProgress seeking details about how the leader of another federal party could cast a ballot for Conservative leader and whether Hill communicated with the party prior to voting.

[CBC’s West of Centre podcast]

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