Businessman Bryan Brulotte will not run in the Conservative leadership race and is advocating for former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay to run instead, CBC News has learned.
"Although my desire was to serve and continues to be a motivating factor, after careful consideration and review of the recently published regulations, I have decided to withdraw from the leadership race for the Conservative Party," Brulotte said in a press release shared with CBC News.
On Saturday, the Conservative Party released the rules for its leadership contest for the June vote, giving candidates just over two months to pull together $300,000 and secure 3,000 signatures in order to have their names on the ballot.
The first deadline, requiring $25,000 and 1,000 signatures from 30 ridings in at least seven provinces and territories, is set for Feb. 27, with the remaining financial obligations and signatures required by March 25.
Brulotte, CEO and chair of the employment firm MaxSys Staffing and Consulting, announced his intention to seek the leadership on Dec. 16. Brulotte is also a former member of the military who served overseas in both Germany and on United Nations peacekeeping missions with the Royal 22nd Regiment.
In a press release dated Jan. 15, Brulotte said the decision to stand down is not one he made lightly.
"I believe in a united Canada and I still believe that vision can be achieved," the release said.
"As such, it is with a strong sense of purpose that I fully encourage, and advocate for the upcoming leadership campaign of Peter MacKay," Brulotte wrote, adding he has known MacKay since 1997.
"Without a doubt, Peter has consistently displayed all the necessary attributes to become prime minister of Canada," the release says.
MacKay, a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government, is said to be considering a run, but has not announced a decision.
MP Marilyn Gladu became the first caucus member to enter the race when she announced her leadership bid last week. Fellow Ontario MPs Erin O'Toole and Pierre Poiillevre are expected to announce bids soon.
Former Quebec premier Jean Charest and former interim leader Rona Ambrose are among those also believed to be considering their options.
with files from Murray Brewster and The Canadian Press
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