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Group led by former Conservative leadership candidate considering forming a new federal party

Rick Peterson participates in a Conservative leadership debate in Moncton, N.B. on Dec. 6, 2016. Peterson's group, Centre Ice Canadians, is exploring the possibility of starting a new political party. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press - image credit)
Rick Peterson participates in a Conservative leadership debate in Moncton, N.B. on Dec. 6, 2016. Peterson's group, Centre Ice Canadians, is exploring the possibility of starting a new political party. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press - image credit)

The advocacy group Centre Ice Canadians, headed by former Conservative leadership candidate Rick Peterson, is thinking about jumping into the electoral arena with a new federal party.

Peterson told CBC News that CIC's supporters are in favour of creating a new "centrist" party.

"We're going to be exploring whether it's feasible to start a new federal party that would have a centrist approach," Peterson said. "The indication so far is there is tremendous interest in taking the step."

The group — which brands itself as a "bold voice for pragmatic, centrist Canadians" — was co-founded by Peterson in 2022. Its advisory council boasts some prominent political players, including former B.C. premier Christy Clark and former New Brunswick provincial cabinet minister Dominic Cardy.

Peterson said in a newsletter to CIC supporters that he and Cardy will lead a working group to draft a constitution and platform for a new party.

Jon Collicott/CBC News
Jon Collicott/CBC News

"This will be an honest effort to truly find out if we have what it takes, and if [we do], then we'll certainly take that step with conviction," Peterson said. "But if we don't, we're certainly not going to be undertaking something that just does not have support."

In order for a party to register with Elections Canada, it must have a leader, a minimum of three officers, an auditor and the signatures of 250 electors willing to register as party members.

Peterson insisted this initiative isn't about any personal feelings of disenchantment with the federal Conservative Party he once sought to lead. He said it has nothing to do with "any one political party."

"I just want to make it very, very clear … that we're agnostic to where any other party is. We're interested in giving a voice to people, many of whom aren't aligned with the federal Conservatives, federal Liberals or the federal NDP," he said.

"There's a lot of centre-left support for this idea."

Peterson said in his newsletter that the proposed party would not be called the "Centre Ice Canadians party." He said the group will decide by Sept. 20 if moving forward with a party application is feasible.