‘I’m in your corner’: Raitt launches Conservative leadership bid

Lisa Raitt launched her campaign for the Conservative Party leadership in Toronto Thursday, telling Conservatives that she stands with everyday people, not the privileged few.

“I’ve been there. I’m in your corner,” she repeated as a catchphrase in her speech, highlighting her life experience not just in politics but as a working mother, mental health advocate and daughter of a small-town, working class family who had to move away to find opportunity. 

Raitt becomes the 10th candidate to register for the race, ahead of next Wednesday’s first debate in Saskatoon, Sask.

She is originally from Whitney Pier in Cape Breton, N.S. Again Thursday, she spoke about her family’s background in coal mining.

She moved to Toronto to go to law school, and served as the president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Port Authority before her election in the suburban riding of Halton in 2008.

Raitt served in three portfolios in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government: natural resources, labour and transport.

She resigned from her latest role as the opposition’s finance critic last month to prepare for her campaign.

The former cabinet minister announced her intentions in a Facebook video yesterday afternoon, ahead of the official launch event.

Lisa Raitt enters Conservative leadership race1:11

The deadline has now passed for leadership candidates to file their papers if they wish to participate in all five of the debates the party has organized across the country in the coming months.

Beyond Raitt, the current list of registered candidates includes:

  • Chris Alexander.
  • Maxime Bernier.
  • ​Steven Blaney.
  • ​Michael Chong.
  • ​Kellie Leitch.
  • ​Deepak Obhrai.
  • ​Erin O’Toole.
  • Andrew Scheer.
  • ​Brad Trost.

Others could still register, up until the late February deadline. 

Conservatives will elect their next leader on May 27, 2017 using a ranked ballot voting system in ridings across Canada.

With a potentially large number of candidates trying to reach the required majority support of party members, second or third choices could be influential in determining the final outcome.

Those wishing to vote have until late March to purchase a party membership.

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