Conservative on national council says members should review O’Toole’s leadership

OTTAWA – A conservative on the party’s national council says Erin O’Toole should undergo an expedited leadership review by members following her electoral defeat, marking the first open challenge for her to remain in office. .

Bert Chen represents Ontario, but says he speaks like a loyal member and there are many others unhappy with the more moderate direction O’Toole has taken of the party, which was opposed to how he ran in his leadership contest to win over the faithful. of the party. .

“If Mr. O’Toole’s decision paid off in forming a conservative government, I would have been happy to give him the benefit of the doubt had he been prime minister-designate,” Chen said.

“Considering that that was not the case, I think this should be done.”

In the race for leadership, O’Toole campaigned as the “true blue” conservative, making promises like lowering the carbon price of the liberals, only to come up with one of his own after winning.

The Conservative leader also appeared to reverse his positions on eliminating funding for the CBC and protecting the conscientious rights of physicians from having to refer patients to services to which they morally object, such as medical assistance in the event of death or abortion.

O’Toole also created confusion when he wrote a footnote on his platform promising to repeal the liberal ban on some 1,500 firearm models, including the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14, promising instead to keep its prohibition pending the result. of a classification review.

Chen has started an online petition to collect signatures from members who support asking the party’s national council to call a referendum on O’Toole’s leadership ahead of one scheduled for 2023.

He says an election could happen before then and ultimately it was the members who elected O’Toole, so the caucus needs to know how they feel.

“There are other councilors who are also receiving feedback from members we represent in our provinces that this campaign was disappointing, and Mr. O’Toole must take responsibility,” Chen said.

So far, the petition has obtained more than 600 signatures. A request for comment from O’Toole’s office was forwarded to the party chairman.

Bert Chen has started an online petition to collect signatures from members who support asking the party’s national council to call a referendum on Erin O’Toole’s leadership ahead of one scheduled for 2023. #cdnpoli #CPC # elxn44

“Conservatives in Canada have a clear process to ensure that members speak out. At the first national convention after an election in which the Conservatives do not form a government, our constitution stipulates that there is a vote to determine whether to carry out a leadership selection process, “wrote party chairman Rob Batherson in a statement to The Canadian Press.

“At no time is an online petition, which is open to being influenced by liberals or members of any other party, is part of that process.”

The effort is the first public challenge O’Toole has faced as a leader following Monday’s elections that have so far shown the Conservatives winning 119 seats, two fewer than his predecessor Andrew Scheer who captured in 2019.

O’Toole has acknowledged that the party did not make the breakthroughs it needed in Greater Toronto, Metro Vancouver and Quebec, and vowed to review what went wrong.

He has repeatedly sidestepped questions about the discrepancies between what he said during his leadership run and the more centrist platform on which he ran during the election campaign.

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 22, 2021.

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