Who is Erin O’Toole?
BY: Gabbie Maddalena
After postponing the leadership race from June to August of 2020, The Conservative Party of Canada has finally elected their new Leader, Erin O’Toole. The Ontario MP won the race with 19,272 votes, beating out the former Minister for the Conservatives Peter Mackay, incumbent MP Derek Sloan, and the Toronto based lawyer Leslyn Lewis. But beyond the city lines of Ottawa, the new Leader of the Opposition remains a mystery to most Canadians. This poses the question of who is Erin O’Toole, and what does he stand for?
Who is Erin O’Toole?
Prior to his political career, O’Toole attended the Royal Military College of Canada where he received a BA in History and Political Science. He worked as a tactical navigator in search and rescue missions.
O’Toole served a total of twelve years as a Royal Canadian Air Force Officer before ditching the military uniform to attend Dalhousie law school in ’03. The new Leader of the Opposition started his political career in Durham Ontario when he became MP through a by-election in 2012.
He sat on the backbench for the first few years in the House of Commons but was appointed to Minister of Veteran Affairs in early 2015 by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He was also appointed Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and held this position for two years.
Following Harper’s resignation in 2015, O’Toole ran to be the interim leader, but fell short of the win. He then ran for permanent party leader in 2017 against Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier. O’Toole tried to run as the progressive candidate against his opponents which put him in third place.
Leadership Election of 2020
After dropping the progressive approach and running off of “True Blue Leadership” as he calls it on his website, O’Toole won the hearts of social conservatives across the Nation.
During the race, O’Toole was yet again the underdog. Many Canadians expected former Conservative Minister Peter Mackay to land the top spot, as he is a left-leaning Conservative and seemed to be the biggest threat to Trudeau’s Liberal government.
The new leader won the race by gaining the support of most Conservatives across the country. O’Toole pulled most of his support from being the second and third choice of those voting for Sloan or Lewis. This pattern seemed to follow the rest of the election, and with Mackay only performing well in Nova Scotia, O’Toole had won the race in a four to one margin, allowing him to come out on top.
In order to win the support of Canadian Conservatives, O’Toole released a fifty-page platform that seems to target the middle class.
His platform focuses on the Canadian economy and recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. He intends on creating a “Fiscal Stability Plan” to balance the budget. The plan includes reducing and simplifying taxes through a review of our tax code and intends to include a tax exemption for young Canadians.
Under the umbrella of his economy focus, O’Toole would also like to create the “Royal Pandemic Commission”. He intends to have this convene 100 days after he was to take office to ensure Canada can be prepared for any future threats, and this will also include looking into the state of long-term care homes across the nation, and what can be done for improvement at a federal level.
Under the umbrella of his economy focus, O’Toole would also like to create the “Royal Pandemic Commission”. He intends to have this convene 100 days after he were to take office to ensure Canada can be prepared for any future threats, and this will also include looking into the state of long-term care homes across the nation, and what can be done for improvement at a federal level.
Other areas of his platform include creating a Climate change policy that will scrap Trudeau’s carbon tax under the promise of respecting the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. O’Toole intends to create a climate policy that will bring incentives to economic change and protect communities, while having industries pay for it instead of taxing Canadians.
The New Leader also developed a plan to strengthen Quebec’s autonomy and created an action plan for the West and Alberta. O’Toole is also in support of using the Notwithstanding Clause of the charter to enforce making it a criminal offence to block transportation within our country.
Overall, Erin O’Toole’s leadership win leaves the Conservative Party in a healthy position. The only thing left to do is wait and see if this underdog and his new platform have what it takes to beat Trudeau’s Liberal government.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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