Patrick Brown says the Conservative Party did not want a competitive leadership election and would have made up any story necessary to disqualify him from the race to succeed Erin O'Toole.
Since he was ousted from the leadership race earlier this month over alleged violations of campaign finance laws, Brown has repeatedly claimed his removal was due to corruption within the party and collusion with the campaign of leadership front-runner Pierre Poilievre. Both the party and Poilievre's campaign deny this.
"The party would have manufactured anything to disqualify me from the race," Brown said on CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Monday.
"Unfortunately the federal Conservative Party didn't want to have a competitive election. They didn't want to have a fair and free election," he told host Vassy Kapelos.
"They've got a coronation in mind and I don't think that's good for the party."
Brown made the remarks hours after announcing that he would enter the race for a second term as mayor of Brampton, Ont., despite initially saying his team was pursuing a legal challenge to his disqualification from the Conservative leadership election.
WATCH | 'No wrongdoing,' in campaign, Brown says:
"We're still pursuing legal options. I believe it's important that Canadians know what happened here," he said.
"Having said that, I think that it is very clear, when ballots have been mailed out for weeks now, that they have damaged the possibility of having a fair election."
Brown said there is no way he could run a competitive campaign when the party membership has been told he has been disqualified and was in the middle of a legal challenge.
Voting for Jean Charest
After he was ousted from the party, Debbie Jodoin, a former regional organizer on the Brown campaign, claimed through her lawyer that Brown arranged for her to work on his campaign through a third-party company.
The chair of the Conservatives' Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) said the party tried to bring Brown's campaign into compliance with federal election laws and leadership race rules for nearly a week, but the effort failed.
In a message to Conservative members, LEOC chair Ian Brodie said "the party gave [Brown's campaign] every opportunity to clarify and resolve" the party's concerns.
"Together with our party's lawyer, I personally engaged for the better part of a week to find a path for the Patrick Brown campaign to be in compliance with our rules and federal law," Brodie said in the email.
Brown said that leadership candidates Jean Charest and Scott Aitchison both share centrist values that could propel the party into government, but he has already decided who is will be voting for.
"I have said on a campaign call of many organizers across the country that I'll be voting for Jean Charest, I believe that he'd be the best choice for the Conservative Party right now," Brown said. "I think at this point that Jean Charest has the best shot at defeating Pierre Poilievre."