Erin O’Toole is the Conservative Who Dislikes Conservatism – No Wonder He’s Unpopular

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on March 17, 2021

Erin O’Toole’s popularity can only be described as spiraling down towards the earth. Since being elected as leader of the Conservative Party O’Toole has not ingratiated himself with the CPC base, let alone the Canadian people.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself is not particularly popular according to a new Angus Reid poll where Trudeau has a disapproval rating of 52 percent and an approval rating of only 45 percent, net popularity of  -7 percent. 

O’Toole seems to have seen Trudeau’s unpopularity to mean a challenge seeing as O’Toole’s current net popularity among Canadians is -22 percent. 

Although Trudeau has a disapproval rating of 52 percent that is still far better than O’Toole’s 51 percent disapproval rating seeing as only 3 percent of Canadians polled do not have their minds made up on Trudeau whereas 19 percent of Canadians still don’t have an opinion on O’Toole, and the trend isn’t looking very good. 

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Even within the Conservative Party O’Toole’s numbers are quite weak. Typically a leader within his own party should be viewed favorably among the vast majority of the party base, but O’Toole, based on a poll of Canadians who voted CPC in 2019, only has 64 percent of what should be his base viewing him favourably.

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To someone who isn’t following Canadian politics at all it may seem rather strange why so many Canadians and Candian Conservatives have such a negative reaction to O’Toole seeing as he appears to be a relatively nice guy and has only been the CPC leader since late August 2020. 

The problem is that O’Toole has become the candidate for no one. Despite being the Conservative Party leader, his strict pro-choice stances and removal of a social Conservative MP like Derek Sloan CPC caucus, and getting Jim Karahalios disqualified during the leadership race, has severely damaged his relationship with social conservatives. 

O’Toole’s advocacy for carbon-pricing on “big-emitters” (despite saying he was against Trudeau’s Carbon Tax), supporting net-zero emissions targets, his commitment to not reduce Trudeau’s foreign aid spending, among many other policy positions, has also dampened support with strong fiscal Conservatives.


Well you may think O’Toole is only softening on social and fiscal Conservatism because he wants to win over more Liberal Party voters, but he is still not the sort of politician that more Liberal Canadians would vote for. 

O’Toole is trying to entice Liberals by shifting the Conservative party to be a mildly progressive party and leaning into his moderate Liberal-lite economic policies. The problem is that Liberals who like Trudeau don’t care about fiscal responsibility, if they did they would have drummed Trudeau out of office in 2019. Trudeau’s supporters are mostly social Liberal voters, and unless O’Toole is willing to go full “people-kind” progressive, he has already failed to win over Liberal voters.

Effectively the Conservative Party under O’Toole is abandoning its Conservative base in favour of new Liberal voters without realizing they are just offering a cheaper version of what makes most Liberals vote for Trudeau, winning the CPC no new supporters but alienating their old ones.

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If O’Toole is actually invested in winning the coming 2021 election, and not just being the seat-warmer for the next CPC leader, he has to pick a political lane and stop listening to the strategy firms who foolishly assume that you can be everything to everyone. 

By shifting to the political right O’Toole could monopolize at least a third of the voters in Canada, but instead, currently the Conservative Party is drifting in limbo in the same sort of state as the Progressive Conservative Party was in 1993 under Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

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.

One response to “Erin O’Toole is the Conservative Who Dislikes Conservatism – No Wonder He’s Unpopular”

  1. Peter LeTourneux says:

    This seems to be a recent affliction among the Conservative leadership, they feel that to be electable they must act like Liberals in blue suits. Not a great strategy. However, since one simply cannot be the Prime Minister unless "approved" by Quebec and Ontario, one can understand why they do so. Given the present state of affairs in Canada, I fear Trudeau will be around for some time yet, especially being propped up by the NDP. Suddenly, Western independence doesn’t seem like a bad idea.