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Instead, a small convention room in downtown Ottawa was converted to a broadcast studio, where race organizers and outgoing leader Andrew Scheer gave speeches in person, while the four candidates remained in their own rooms to await the reveal of the results.
In his speech, Scheer said he felt he was leaving the party in good shape — 121 MPs, which is more than after the 2015 election, high fundraising numbers and a strong will to defeat the Liberals.
All conservatives have a home in the party and must be unafraid to speak up for their values, challenge mainstream media narratives and leftist professors, Scheer said.
Conservatives can be a “silent majority” no more, he said, but it will take unity to achieve that.
“For the last few months, the different candidates and their supporters have been highlighting the difference between them,” he said.
“After tonight, let’s all come together and focus on the things that unite us.”
Scheer stepped down in December after a disappointing election result saw calls for his dismissal grow too loud to ignore, but party president Scott Lamb said Scheer had done well by the party and deserved its thanks.
“With you, we took a large step once again to forming Conservative government,” Lamb said.
As the delay progressed Sunday, Erin O’Toole hosted videoconference sessions with campaign volunteers, thanking them for their work and giving them a behind-the-scenes look at his night in real time.