Erin O’Toole Betrays Gun Owners Despite Being Ahead in the Polls

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on September 7, 2021

The Conservative Party of Canada is currently leading the Liberals by wide margins in the majority of officially published polls so far in the 2021 snap election, and polling aggregators like 338 Canada are also projecting that the Conservative Party will likely win the most seats in Parliament.

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In spite of the lead, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has been jumping from foot to foot over the past week when it comes to the issue of firearms. 

During the first French-language debate many assumed O’Toole had backed off of his position from the 2020 CPC leadership race to repeal the Liberals ban of 1,500 rifles, done through an Order In Council (OIC), in 2020 when he said he would not get rid of the assault rifle ban. This turns out not to be true at the time with CCFR spokeswoman Tracey Wilson clarifying he was referring to a 1977 ban that prohibited fully automatic rifles, and that the Conservative Party was still commited to scrapping the OIC gun ban. 

Just a few days later O’Toole then flip-flopped after a few days of pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, now saying that he will indeed keep the OIC gun ban in place.

O’Toole in a press conference stated:

I want to make my position on firearms perfectly clear. First, the ban on assault weapons will remain in place. Second, the present ban on a number of other firearms that were reclassified in 2020 will remain in place. Third, we will conduct a transparent review of the firearms classification process to take the politics out of this process and engage the public in discussions about public safety. 

Many firearms advocates in response to this new position O’Toole has taken have argued that he is still against the OIC gun ban and through his review of the reclassification system will take firearms off Trudeau’s ban list. 

The problem is that O’Toole himself stated that he wanted to be “perfectly clear” before saying he would not repeal Trudeau’s OIC gun ban. Yes, in theory, he could keep the OIC gun ban in place and then reclassify all 1,500 firearms off of the list, but when dealing with politicians it is always best to assume they will not do something if they don’t explicitly say they will, and commit to doing it as soon as possible. 


It effectively is giving O’Toole permission to back off of his previous positions if excuses are always made for why he is actually still secretly in favour of his previous position despite explicitly saying the opposite. 

O’Toole while he is ahead should not be making radical changes to his platform like he has been over the past two weeks on issues like vaccine passports, defunding the CBC, firearms, free votes in caucus, among many other key issues. 

It seems like O’Toole is simply shifting his positions to the left because he believes he has breathing room right now, and in his heart, he is far more like the Liberals than he previously let on. He does not really care if he betrays his base because he believes Trudeau’s incompetence on the campaign trail has left the door open for him to shift further to the left.

The Conservatives proceeding to fall in the polls over the next several days would not be much of a shock if they let Erin O’Toole continue trying to restructure the party in the middle of an election and win himself a new base, rather than sticking with what was clearly working in this election climate.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

2 responses to “Erin O’Toole Betrays Gun Owners Despite Being Ahead in the Polls”

  1. mauser98 says:

    Justin minority government
    Toole resigns Sept 21
    CPC pick another loser for leader spring 2022

  2. mauser98 says:

    is Bob Rae OToole’s policy advisor