Trost, Tories, settle leadership dispute over leak of membership list

OTTAWA — The federal Conservative party has cleared Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost's leadership campaign over a leak of the party's membership list to the National Firearms Association ahead of the 2017 leadership vote.

In a statement Monday, the party says it has overturned an earlier decision that put the blame on Trost's campaign, citing insufficient evidence.

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The two sides have also come to a settlement over a $50,000 fine Trost faced after the original ruling, and costs related to legal action Trost launched in response.

In a joint statement, Trost and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer say they believe the matter to be settled.

Trost says the process has been challenging at times, but he "never doubted the outcome."

And Scheer says the party is "excited to move on" and have Trost out campaigning for Conservative candidates in this fall's federal election.

The trouble started after the leadership race, which Scheer won on the last ballot, when several party members complained about getting correspondence from the National Firearms Association.

Party members insisted the list was the only way the NFA could have obtained their contact information.

The party fingered Trost's campaign as the culprit in June 2017 and fined him $50,000. Trost denied the allegation and asked an Ontario court to intervene.

Trost filed an appeal to the leadership organizing committee last week, the party says. The committee decided there was "insufficient evidence to conclude that the Trost campaign was the source" of the leak, an overturned the June 2017 decision.

Trost finished fourth in the leadership race.

In March 2018, he was defeated at a Conservative nomination meeting for his riding of Saskatoon-University by Corey Tochor, a former Speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature.

Trost has said he won't be running for the Tories anywhere else in this year's election.

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