OTTAWA, Ontario – On Wednesday morning, Feb. 2, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) voted to remove Erin O’Toole as Party Leader after a vote in a meeting of the caucus.
O’Toole lead the party to an election loss in September of 2021, which saw the CPC lose two seats nationally from the 2019 election.
Calgary-Heritage MP Bob Benzen, who supported O’Toole in his leadership bids in 2017 and in 2020, released a statement on Monday calling on a review of O’Toole as leader.
The statement by Benzen criticized O’Toole for supporting a tax on carbon in April of 2021, threatening to expelling party members if they did not wholly accept the party platform, not standing up for the English speaking minority in Quebec, and, in Benzen’s view, failing to stand-up for “the Charter rights of Canadians during the pandemic.”
CPC caucus chair Scott Reid informed his members that 20 per cent of their number backed a petition to review O’Toole’s leadership. The 2015 Reform Act gives MPs in the CPC the ability to trigger a leadership review.
A statement from Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Eric Duncan indicates that the caucus chose to dispense with the review and simply remove O’Toole from office as Leader.
“Today our Conservative Caucus made the decision to order a leadership race to select a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. I fully respect the decision and look forward to engaging our members in the months ahead. We need to focus on uniting our Caucus and Party, and to focus on defeating the Liberals in the next election,” Duncan’s statement reads.
Duncan supported O’Toole during the 2020 CPC leadership race.
“It is a difficult role to serve as a political leader and I want to thank Erin O’Toole, his wife Rebecca, and their family for the efforts and sacrifices they have made the past 18 months. I am personally grateful for the opportunities Erin provided me to serve our team and the experiences I’ve been given,” the statement goes on to read. “I am proud to be your Conservative Member of Parliament, and I’m optimistic about the chance to move forward and tackle the many issues facing our country. Our country needs a change in national leadership, and I will work tirelessly to elect our next Conservative leader as Prime Minister of Canada.”