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Surprise, the Conservatives elected a tool

By: 
Sid Lacombe

August 24, 2020

Erin O’Toole is the new leader of the federal Conservative party after a a contentious and extremely lengthy vote counting process. The MP from Durham beat former Harper cabinet minister Peter McKay, openly racist MP Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis.

O’Toole began his acceptance speech by introducing himself to the country since very few people have ever heard of him. His attempt to build a Trump like base with his “Take back Canada” slogan may have endeared him to the right in the Cons but he is still has a lot of work to do to gain any kind of wider audience, despite some high profile endorsements from Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper.

For those who don’t know O’Toole’s platform, here are some highlights:

He believes that Justin Trudeau is a tool of the Chinese communist party and that his Covid response was delayed because of that collusion. In fact, he mentions “communist China” so much in his platform you would think he was reading from an old cold war playbook.

He thinks that climate change will be addressed by rapid expansion of the tar sands and openly called for a military response to end the “Shut down Canada” movement in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people. He would eliminate “red tape” in the approval of more pipelines.

On the foreign policy and defence front O’Toole wants to increase military support, including doing joint training, with the governments of Ukraine and Israel specifically. He calls for a united Israel with Jerusalem as it’s capital. He is calling for increases in military spending to “own the north” against any perceived territorial expansion of Russia. He has also called for the overthrow of the government in Venezuela.

And on immigration his main focus is on stopping “irregular” border entries with new military checkpoints at border crossings and he wants to save the discredited safe third country agreement with the US.

He has specifically said that his is pro-choice but he has left the door open to restrictions on abortion and has stated that MPs should be able to table private members bills on the subject.

And he has a serious hate-on for what he deems the left saying that they are responsible for shutting down free speech and for being in control of the political agenda in Canada. Presumably, that is who he thinks Canada should be taken back from.

In what has become a standard in Conservative leadership elections at both the federal and provincial levels, O’Toole appealed to the right wing social conservatives to get elected. Most of his support on the third ballot came from the collapsing campaigns of Sloan and Lewis. It was enough for him to beat McKay and take the lead.

And almost immediately party spokespeople began trying to assure Canadians that his hard conservative positions would be put onto the back burner and he would, in fact, not campaign in the federal election on many his own platform planks.

In short, he is a walking embodiment of the new conservatives. They appeal to the hard right making their deals with the worst of them while campaigning for leadership and then making a public appeal to the rest of the country saying that they are not actually as right wing as their own words would suggest.

Either way, he has a mountain to climb before he can contest an election and people will be able to see through the whitewash that will try and make him palatable candidate, just as they did with Scheer the last time around.

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