How Far Left Will O’Toole Take The Conservative Party?

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on August 25, 2020

Last night the Conservative party of Canada chose a new leader in Erin O’Toole.  O’Toole won on the third of three possible rounds, edging out Peter MacKay in the final round.

O’Toole spent the entire campaign marketing himself as the “True Blue” conservative, but there were many people inside the Conservative base who felt that O’Toole and MacKay were both establishment Red Tories, while the real Conservative candidates were Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan.


One of the bigger scandals in the CPC race was the disqualification of the third strongly conservative candidate, Jim Karahalios, which was instigated by the O’Toole campaign. In the email that got Karahalios kicked out of the race he brought up three things about Erin O’Toole’s Campaign chair: His support for the Carbon tax in Ontario, his advocating for Sharia banking in 2007, and his alleged involvement in election fixing scandals under Patrick Brown.

All that does not exactly reflect the “True Blue” spirit. In combination with the fact that O’Toole tried to silence Karahalios rather than debate him, it did not signal well to the party base.

One of the more important issues to the Conservative electorate in Canada, especially in the West, is energy.  The base wanted to outright abolish the Carbon Tax but Erin O’Toole was a bit slippery on the campaign with his federal carbon pricing that his critics called a backdoor Carbon Tax.

The old adage in politics is that you run your primaries to the right (if you are on the right) and run to the centre in a general election. O’Toole was lucky in the sense that he never really needed to outline very conservative policy, instead he could just declare himself “True Blue” and without a strong Right-wing ecosystem for Canadian journalism there was not much push back to the idea.

But now that Erin O’Toole has won the leadership, he will face the full force of the heavily subsidized Canadian media hectoring him for every potential right of centre position he takes. It will be a tough climate for him to establish some trust with parts of the disaffected base while balancing his election odds.

Unfortunately for the base of the Conservative party the likely question is not if Erin O’Toole will move the party to the Left, but by how much.  

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

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