Christine Elliott, a former Whitby-Oshawa PC MPP and more recently the provincial patient ombudsman, is set to enter the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership race.
Elliott said in a short message on Twitter Thursday afternoon, “I’m in. #pcpo #onpoli.”
Sources told Global News that Elliott’s candidacy will not affect Caroline Mulroney‘s and Rod Phillips‘ prospective leadership bids. The sources said both are getting ready to announce their bids soon.
As of Thursday, the only other declared leadership candidate is former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford.
The race was triggered after Patrick Brown suddenly resigned last week amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
PC Party officials said Thursday prospective candidates must register with the party by Feb. 16, with the vote set to begin a few weeks later. The voting results are scheduled to be announced on March 10.
Under the rules, leadership candidates must submit their paperwork and $100,000 in fees and deposits by the February date, with another $25,000 due later to access the party’s membership list. Each candidate’s campaign spending cannot exceed $750,000.
Elliott, who is also the widow of former federal and Ontario finance minister Jim Flaherty, was the perceived frontrunner to replace Tim Hudak as the Ontario PC leader when she lost the race to Patrick Brown in 2015.
The 62-year-old first took office in 2006 after winning a byelection to replace Flaherty, who was elected to federal Parliament. She was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014.
Elliott became Ontario’s first patient ombudsman in 2016 after resigning her seat in August 2015.
Mulroney, vice-president of an investment firm and daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, was named as the PC nominee for the riding of York-Simcoe in September.
Phillips is the former chair of Postmedia and past president and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He was nominated in November as the PC candidate for Ajax.
— With files from Alan Carter, David Shum and The Canadian Press
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