Canadians are slowly learning a little more about the new leader of the Conservatives, Erin O’Toole. A recent Nick Nanos poll showed that 38 percent of Canadians didn’t know him well enough to have an opinion; but of the rest , two-thirds thought O’Toole to be either a good choice or a “somewhat” good choice the lead the party. O”Toole made it clear in his acceptance speech at two in the morning on Monday August 24th , and in subsequent media interviews, that he is going to resist falling into the social conservative trap that hampered the Scheer campaign in last year’s election. O’Toole declared himself pro-choice, in favour of same-sex marriage and pro-immigration. Last week he told reporters that while he believes in fiscal prudence, he would not cripple the economy to secure a balanced budget, rather would reduce the deficit over a ten year span.
One advantage he enjoys should Justin Trudeau decide to pull a snap election is that he already has a seat in the commons, and by getting elected in a 905 seat, has demonstrated his ability to swim against the Trudeau tide that resulted in a majority Liberal Government in 2015. The Toronto Star says he has moved quickly to get his people into key posts in the party including the appointment of TD Bank Group Vice President James Dodds to head up the Conservative Fund, a powerful board that controls the party’s purse strings.
O’Toole is on his third term as MP for Durham. After a military career where he rose to the rank of Captain, O’Toole obtained a law degree and worked for blue chip law firms Stikeman Elliott, and Heenan Blaikie as well as a term as corporate counsel for Proctor and Gamble.
John Best and Bill Kelly discussed the O’Toole leadership in this conversation.