(LifeSiteNews) – Failed Prime Minster Candidate Erin O’Toole said Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC, founded in 2018) were a factor in his Conservative Party’s loss on Monday. There is also word that a mutiny is brewing among members of the Conservative Party (CPC) who are not happy with O’Toole’s shift toward the left in a party traditionally known for being center-right.
O’Toole held a press conference on Tuesday, speaking about the state of the party after Justin Trudeau’s Liberals defeated him. Trudeau has proven himself to be unpopular with many Canadians. Many of his campaign stops were met with angry crowds.
O’Toole viewed it as a positive that Canadians “said no” to Trudeau’s attempt to gain a majority government with the snap-election, and added that he was “proud” of his party for “holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election.”
He said he “already initiated a post-election review to examine what went right, what went wrong,” and what the party can “do better to win in 18 months.” Trudeau said before the election that he would call another election in 18 months if he did not get the majority result he was hoping for. O’Toole claimed during the press conference that the CPC was looking at the 2021 election as an opportunity to move toward victory in the next election.
O’Toole used the press conference as an opportunity to voice his frustration with both the PPC and the Liberal Party. He claimed that Bernier used the pandemic, vaccine, and lockdown issues to pad his popularity and that Trudeau used COVID as a “wedge” issue.
“People are frustrated that we were in a pandemic election, that Mr. Trudeau was using the pandemic to divide people,” O’Toole said.
Throughout the campaign, Trudeau took a hard line against what he called the “unvaccinated,” at times raising his voice as he tried to motivate crowds to resent and fear those who he believed were putting others at risk by not getting vaccinated.
Canada’s vaccination rate is very high, yet the country is going through a worse bout with COVID-associated illness than at the same time last year, when no one was vaccinated. In what some have called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Canada faired better when there were no vaccines at all.
Despite the clear leftist rhetoric that Trudeau has used throughout his time in office, O’Toole chose to remain centrist or left-leaning throughout the campaign. He supported climate change legislation and committed himself to the pro-abortion position.
O’Toole was asked whether right-leaning voters voted for the PPC instead of the CPC, but did not respond directly to the question. Instead, he said: “People are frustrated that we were in a pandemic election, that Mr. Trudeau was using the pandemic to divide people. Some people expressed their frustration in that way. That’s part of our exercise on how we make sure we can learn.”
He added that he wanted to make sure that the CPC could “close those small gaps”, and “win in those seats where we were close, where we had gains in many cases, but didn’t close the deal.”
O’Toole accused Bernier and the PPC of using the pandemic for “political gain.” He acknowledged that there were about 30 ridings where the CPC came as close as 2,000 votes away from a victory.
In numerous ridings — enough to flip the election for the CPC — the PPC earned a portion of the vote that equaled or surpassed what was necessary for a Conservative candidate to win. PPC voters are largely conservative and right-wing, and it has been suggested that the base of PPC voters are people who would otherwise vote for the traditional Conservative party if they felt the current leadership represented their concerns.
Bert Chen, a Conservative who sits on the party’s national council, said O’Toole should undergo a leadership review by members following his election loss. He has called for an accelerated leadership review for “betraying” members during the election campaign.
Chen said many party members are upset with O’Toole’s attempt to make the party appear more centrist. He said in an interview: “The feedback from the members … is that Erin has betrayed their trust, and that Erin’s leadership based off of these results is a failure, and he needs to go. Accountability and integrity are central to what Conservatives want out of a leader, which is why we don’t like Justin Trudeau. But Erin O’Toole has demonstrated he’s no better than Justin Trudeau.”
One of the claims of the petition is that O’Toole betrayed the trust of Canadians by supporting vaccine passport measures, and “trampling the freedoms of the individual.”
Well-known Canadian conservative journalist Candice Malcolm called for a “reckoning” regarding O’Toole’s failure to act in a socially conservative manner. She wrote: “The base is angry. They were ignored, disrespected and thrown under the bus by their own leader — and for what? Fewer seats but some supportive words from left-wing journalists (journalists who, of course, would never in a million years vote Conservative.) O’Toole’s decision to abandon conservative principles and slander the Conservative base did not go unnoticed. There must be a reckoning. There will be a reckoning.”
Presently, the future of O’Toole’s leadership is at the mercy of the Conservative caucus. Its MPs will meet next week to vote on whether to invoke a Reform Act provision that would empower the caucus to oust O’Toole as leader if a majority of MPs wants him gone.