Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen says she’s not running in next election

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Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen says she won’t be running in the next federal election, but will stay on as an MP after a new leader is selected this weekend.

“Serving the constituents of Portage-Lisgar for 14 years has been the honour of my political life and I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to be their voice in the House of Commons,” she said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“I will wholeheartedly be supporting whoever takes my place as leader after Sept. 10. I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of the Conservative movement in Canada. When Conservatives are strong and united, Conservatives win.”

Before taking on the interim leader role after Erin O’Toole’s ouster earlier this year, Bergen was previously the Conservatives’ deputy leader and has been among the party’s most prominent voices in the House of Commons.

The Manitoba MP was first elected to represent the riding of Portage-Lisgar in 2008.

New leader to be chosen Saturday

In her statement, Bergen thanked both former prime minister Stephen Harper and former interim leader Rona Ambrose.

“I am humbled and grateful for every leader I have worked with and learned so much from,” she wrote.

The Conservative Party will select a new leader Saturday night at a convention in Ottawa.

The party reported last week that more than half of the 678,000 ballots it sent out to members have been returned. Veteran Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre’s camp says he has sold more than 300,000 memberships, making him the perceived front-runner.

He’s facing off against former Quebec premier Jean Charest, fellow caucus members Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison, and Roman Baber, a former Ontario MPP who was booted from the Progressive Conservative caucus over opposing lockdowns.

WATCH | Bergen says Conservative Party leadership race is ‘not for the faint of heart’: 

Interim Conservative leader: ‘I have no doubt that once the race is over, we will all come together’

Asked about the defection of two MPs from Patrick Brown to Pierre Poilievre’s team, Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen says she knows that candidates will run a good race and, in the end, the party will stand united behind its new leader.

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