On the first day of the O’Toole CPC Leadership era, I am delighted with the outcome of the most extraordinary campaign in Canadian history. It aligns with the thought and logic I applied back on June 25th when I offered my endorsement of Erin’s campaign. For those who might have missed it:
The Canadian Parliament, the beating heart of our democracy, has been shut down for most of this year and will remain dark through the summer, with only four brief hybrid committee meetings.
Conservative MPs have consistently demanded restoration of responsible government and the accountability that is drawn from a fully functioning House of Commons.
But the Liberals, first with Bloc Quebecois support and then the NDP, have managed to effectively neuter Parliament until September 21st.
Our Conservative Caucus needs to return to the House on that day with the total capacity to fulfill, effectively, the role of the Official Opposition.
And that means having the new Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada seated directly across from Canada’s hubristically profligate Prime Minister.
And, for that reason, the CPC Leader must be Erin O’Toole.
I have great respect for my friend and former cabinet colleague Peter MacKay. Our Caucus will be stronger when he is eventually re-elected. His experience and insight will be invaluable as we develop, with grassroot engagement, a winning policy platform for the next election.
I also believe our Caucus needs the dynamic vision and leadership potential of Leslyn Lewis. She has demonstrated a passionate commitment to the positive changes that are essential to our big tent party.
But, again, all things considered, with Canada in continuing health and economic crisis, I believe that Erin O’Toole is best positioned to effectively lead our party from his seat in the House in the months ahead… and into the next federal election.
And, while I fully respect the decision of all members of the Conservative Party of Canada to mark their ballot as they choose, my first choice - #1 – will be placed beside the name of the Honourable Erin O’Toole P.C. M.P.
I was proud of Erin’s acceptance speech early this morning. And, I join him in recognizing the strong campaigns run by Peter and Leslyn and share his hopes that they join us in Caucus or on the campaign trail as soon as possible.
And congratulations and thanks to Rebecca, Mollie and Jack O’Toole for sharing Erin with Canadians at this exceptionally important moment in our history.
It is time now to put the campaign behind us, to unite enthusiastically and prepare to replace a scandalously flawed government well past its due date.