“Good morning, I’m Erin O’Toole. I’m here to fight for you.”
The former Minister of the Cabinet of Harper and 2017 leadership candidate won the top position of the Conservative party on the third ballot, O’Toole Sunday was lucky for the second time.
Around 1 a.m., delivered in his short acceptance speech. O’Toole was eager to beat the war drums after a tumultuous ballot counting process, accusing Justin Trudeau of undermining Canada and threatening to kill him in the next election.
“The world still needs more Canada, it just needs less of Justin Trudeau,” said O’Toole, a former corporate lawyer and since 2012 MP for riding in southern Ontario.
If the conservative party leadership rivalry is a battle of thoughts, Erin O’Toole flees away — most of them because Peter MacKay always tie his shoes. The less famous O’Toole has still been considered to be a moderate force in the party and has been free to choose itself as “the real” conservative option: the “anti-Trudeau” as his campaign has branded him. He said that he was, among other things, going to cancel the press rescue, ‘violent crackdown criminals’ and move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem in Israel. Although Andrew Scheer sometimes appeared timid to defend his more controversial policy, one can imagine that conservatives would like the clarity of O’Toole.
“Who’s Erin? ‘The old-fashioned Joe Clark headline steals, but is a goodie, now that the Conservatives have voted to a leader whose name causes an average reaction from the Canadian generation to furrow.
MP Erin O’Toole is now a famous and liked leader of the Conservative Party. Yet next in the real world, just months before a potential general election, he has to conquer is a strong canvas.
This is a challenge — and a chance.
The nominee for Conservatives who followed a rugged, true-blue, extreme left-wing theme of the campaign has a problematic option. Is he the winner of the race and is now going to restart moderate-middle management?
And should it dominate this broader perception of conservatism and its political indebtedness to social conservatives, which made Chrystia Freeland, oops last night the great winner, Justin Trudeau?
If the conservatives heard in the 2019 election that their party needed a broader, deeper urban centre base for Central Canada to win, they ignored it by voting in O’Toole for a safer choice in the now-completely-complete-in-policy Peter MacKay.
In the course of the continued progression of the ballots, O’ Toole’s campaign was reinforced by a view of the Canadian Alliance while opening empathetic arms to social conservatives.
It was a bold strategy that worked like a charm.
Members who felt that MacKay was too soft on the fundamental principles, extending too far into the mushy middle for their comfort, gave O’Toole a remarkably strong opening of the first ballot, which started growing with the help of social conservatives, while MacKay’s support stagnated.
The priority for O’Toole is now apparent. People like to get to know him in a hurry if the fall election triggered by Trudeau’s Throne Speech is coming next month.
Knowing him means understanding where he stands in abortion files and his strategy on climate change and the complicated policy route to take through the pandemic while maintaining a strong safety net for COVID-19 victims.
He must also make Leslyn Lewis the outstanding third-place finisher a big influencer inside the party without transforming her view of abortion into an albatross around the electoral neck of the party.
After his 2012 success in the election, the Erin O’Toole I know has become a wiser, calm, articulate politician, who can draw more people after some time to freeze.
This was the easy-going moderate Member of Parliament who finished third in the 2017 leadership competition. It wasn’t the same person who thundered from the harder-right chiefdom against the left in the 2020 race.
Erin O’Toole determines the destiny of the conservative party at the next election as his leadership takes root. O’Toole, played correctly, can beat a team of Trudeau saddled up with ethnic lapses and pandemic missteps.
But if the new boss is just the same as the former boss, the conservatives will again miss an open net score.
The party missed newspapers and broadcast deadlines for one of the most incompetent leadership conventions ever because it did not access the voting funds properly — it was hard to gain trust in the Conservative argument that the Canadian economy would be rebuilt.
The permanent takeover of MacKay’s short demonstration is that the Conservatives are still very much Harper’s party. Lewis and fourth-place finisher Derek Sloan, who scored 14 per cent on the first ballot, are both stalwart social conservatives who did well in the West and Ontario.
O’Toole also set out to be a social conservative and rode that narrative to victory. Their combined forces in the race ended any progressive rerelease of the Conservative Party — a transformation that MacKay had come to represent.
MacKay’s candidacy was based on his conviction that the party was prepared to modernize its base and to speak about a plan to combat climate change that goes beyond just cancelling the carbon tax.
He also said he’d be pro-choice and protest at gay pride gatherings — something Harper and Scheer never did.
The essence of their conference is another issue for the Conservatives. Due to pandemic restrictions, the event hardly touched on TV. The rally, once more for the job of the leader never captured the imagination of the public. Indeed, it was an awful boring.
The conclusion? The Conservatives should get a boost from this virtual stinker instead of a drop in the vote. In the recent Ipsos poll for Global News, a stunning 47 per cent of respondents were not even aware that the party chose a new leader.
The most significant test of O’Toole will be when he announces his reaction to the pandemic treatment by the Trudeau government. The plan of the Conservatives has always been cultural. Harper, for instance, failed to regulate the energy industry even in the era of global warming.
If O’Toole targets the Prime Minister for the enormous deficit in the struggle against the COVID-19, he will be charged with a lack of compassion for conservatism.
The liberals would accuse the new Conservative leader of doing the same thing as Trump if he tries too hard to boost the economy, given that the country can return to business as usual while the epidemic is still abroad in the region. Damn the pandemic torpedos, and full speed is a dubious policy.
O’Toole may have been in the air force, but never has he sailed harder than what lies ahead — he looked at one-and-a-one for a prime minister even harder than he does.