New Conservative leader to be determined Saturday

Conservative Party of Canada members from across the country are in Toronto this weekend for the conclusion of a leadership race that dates back to October 19, 2015, when Stephen Harper stepped down after losing the federal election to Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

The winner will become the leader of the Official Opposition and likely lead the Conservatives into the 2019 federal election.

Out of the 13 candidates in the race, Quebec MP and former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, who has campaigned on ending supply management, is the clear front-runner ahead of the final tally on Saturday night.

According to iPolitics/Mainstreet Research, Bernier has an 85 percent chance of winning the ranked ballot process, while Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer has a 15 percent shot. (See the explanation of how the ballot process works below.)

Mailed ballots were due by 5pm eastern on Friday, while the party has setup 14 places across the country where people can vote in-person, including the convention site in Toronto.

Shaun Haney was on RFD-TV on Friday discussing what could go down on Saturday:

How the Conservatives’ new leader will be determined on Saturday night:

With the ranked ballot system, the magic number for the winner will be 16,901. That’s the number of points needed to win.

Each riding across the country is assigned 100 points, with points allocated to each candidate based on their percentage of the votes within a riding. Those points are then added up nationally.

If a majority isn’t reached after counting first preferences, the candidate with the lowest national point total will be dropped. The second preferences of those ballots will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. This will continue until one candidate reaches the majority total of 16,901. It’s expected it could take as many as 12 counts before a winner is determined.

Related: Conservative leadership race enters the home stretch

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