Rick Peterson has decided to pull out of the leadership race of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Peterson, who was raised in Grande Prairie, says he decided to remove himself from the running after learning the Leadership Election Organizing Committee will not be backing down on the number of nomination signatures needed for candidates. He argues it creates “obvious difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic poses for all leadership candidates.”

“The Party’s unwillingness to change the rules is unfair to the candidates in this race, unfair to the Party’s grassroots and ultimately it will be unfair to this race’s winner since it is clear to everyone aside from LEOC and National Council that the process is fundamentally flawed,” Peterson said in a statement.

When he announced his campaign, Peterson said he was going to create a platform based on protecting the resource sector in Alberta including the oil and gas industries around Grande Prairie that he says have been hurt by previous policies. For the remainder of the overall campaign period, he plans on helping out other potential candidates from western Canada.

The new CPC leader is expected to be selected on June 27th.