Leslyn Lewis spent $2.2 million on bid for Conservative party leadership

Leslyn Lewis

OTTAWA —  Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis who finished third in the race for Conservative party leadership last year, spent  $2 .2 million on her campaign and ended with a small surplus.

Lewis made history as the first Black woman to run for the position of Conservative leader in Canada.

Party leader, Erin O’Toole spent $3.69 million on his campaign and having raised more than $3.7 million, he  also ended the race with a small surplus,

While all leadership candidates for political parties submit reports to Elections Canada on how much they’ve raised in their campaigns, how much they spent isn’t required to be disclosed until six months after the race ends.

The Conservatives marked that milestone  last week, but two of the final four candidates have received extensions.

Elections Canada said second-place candidate Peter MacKay asked for 90 days and fourth-place finisher Derek Sloan asked for another 120 days Candidates were allowed to spend up to $5 million.

MacKay has said he finished the campaign with around $1 million in debt, and is negotiating with vendors and holding fundraisers to try to whittle it down.

He has since left politics, though briefly considered running for election as an MP in the next general election. He’s now living in his home province of Nova Scotia.

Sloan, an Ontario MP, has said he has no debt.

Since the race ended, he has been kicked out of the Conservative caucus for what O’Toole called a “pattern of destructive behaviour” linked to explosive comments he’s made on a variety of subjects. He can’t run under the party’s banner in the next election and it’s unclear if he’ll try to seek election as an Independent or potentially as a member of another party.

Lewis is set to run for the Conservatives in the next election, in the longtime Conservative riding of Haldimand-Norfolk.

“I know she’s going to help us grow this conservative movement and earn the trust of more and more Canadians, including more members of the Black community from coast to coast that we need to reach out to and build trust,”  O’Toole said last Thursday night when he appeared at a virtual event with her to mark Black history month.