O’Toole’s fall and rise to party leadership is stunning
After months and months of vigorous campaigning and divisive rhetoric-filled speeches in 2020, the Conservative Party of Canada elected Erin O’Toole as their next leader. In what was built up to be a perfect night where the party would see the passing of the torch by Scheer, turned out to be night-filled mechanical failures of the ballot-counting machines and spoiled ballots.
Once the mechanical bolts were tightened and thousands of ballots counted by hand, and several rounds of voting, O’Toole emerged as the eventual winner. With the election of O’Toole, the Conservatives got another Harper disciple who is arguably worse than Andrew Scheer with his rhetoric.
Like all conservative leaders before him, O’Toole promised an open big tent where everyone is welcomed. “I believe that whether you are Black, white, brown or from any race or creed, whether you are LGBT or straight, whether you are an Indigenous Canadian or have joined the Canadian family three weeks ago or three generations ago.” Said O’Toole
Sadly this has never been the case. The Conservative Party has never openly welcomed members of the LGBTQ2 community nor have they have been a party that reflects minorities and their record on Indigenous rights is abysmal. O’Toole does deserve credit for wanting to expand the base and be more inclusive, but that type of thinking of wanting a party that is more inclusive and reflects all of Canada is not something the party is ready to accept.
Heading into the 2021 election, the party felt confident they can beat the Trudeau Liberals especially after calling a general election in the middle of the pandemic. The Conservatives had stated no one wanted an election but, left the government little choices by voting against important legislation to benefit Canadians.
O’Toole’s failure to return the Conservative Party back governing status angered the base which ultimately lead to a leadership review. In his short years as leader, O’Toole has had many missteps along the way, but none more polarizing than his stance on the vaccines and vaccine passports.
Many of the Conservative Party members have expressed their unwillingness to accept many of the COVID-19 vaccine mandates in place to curb the spread of the virus. O’Toole who is fully vaccinated had an uphill battle with many members of this caucus who were unvaccinated or refused to disclose their status.
While the leader supports vaccination Canadians, many of the Conservative base do not share the same sentiment. This was evident in the recent week-long so-called “Freedom Rally” put on by unvaccinated Truckers across Canada. Many Conservatives across the country took to social media to show their support for unvaccinated Truckers. However, the support for the unvaccinated has further split the party. What was supposed to be a peaceful event, resulted in many of the truck convoys overstaying their welcome.
The apparent freedom rally saw the desecration of public monuments, abuse of civilians and countless amounts of white supremacist flags and symbols. It goes without saying not all of those who participated in the rally are white supremacists and were only there to peacefully protest but makes you wonder why the majority of them align with the Conservative and PPC party.
Whoever the new leader is, he or she has serious soul searching to do. Knowing that the Conservative Party has a strong base that is unshakeable, they will need to shed their image of being non-inclusive and the preferred party of white supremacists and non-science believers.