Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Ontario MP Kellie Leitch and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier are throwing their hats in the ring for the 2017 federal Conservative leadership race.
Leitch, who served in two different cabinet posts under former prime minister Stephen Harper, became the first official candidate to enter the fray on Wednesday.
For weeks the 45-year-old had been putting together a team for a potential leadership run and formally registered so she could begin to work out in the open.
"I'm looking forward to speaking with party members across the country -- to hear directly from them and to share my ideas about what I believe we need to do to grow our movement and chart a course for our party to win in 2019," Leitch said in a statement.
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Leitch will be joined at the starting line by Bernier, who is expected to submit his leadership application on Thursday.
Bernier, 53, entered federal politics in 2006, when he was elected in the Quebec riding of Beauce. The former businessman is known for his preference for small government and is one of the party's most high-profile MPs in Quebec.