Conservative Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters has launched a petition to remove Erin O'Toole as party leader — she states she's lost faith in O'Toole after the Conservative Party suffered "significant losses" in the last campaign.
Batters said that on O'Toole's watch, the party has flip-flopped on major issues such as carbon pricing, firearms and conscience rights and has lost formerly Conservative seats in urban and suburban ridings in Alberta, B.C. and the Greater Toronto Area.
Batters called O'Toole's "true blue" label a farce and accused him of runnin a federal election campaign "nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau's Liberals."
She said these developments demand a leadership review well before the planned vote at the 2023 Conservative convention.
"We can't afford to see our party ripped apart again. When we're divided, the Liberals win."
“As leader, Mr. O’Toole has watered down, and even entirely reversed, our policy positions without the input of party or caucus members,” she said. “On the carbon tax, on guns, on conscience rights — he flip-flopped on our policies within the same week, the same day, and even within the same sentence.”
When the election campaign began in mid-August, the Conservatives were leading in the polls, which at times even projected a Tory majority. But, over the weeks, the Liberals made gains until Trudeau secured his third term as prime minister.
Under O’Toole, the Tories won 119 seats, two fewer than in 2019, when 121 MPs were elected under Andrew Scheer’s leadership. The latter wasn’t given a second chance to lead, even though the party won the popular vote that year, reducing the Liberals to a minority government.
The Conservatives lost 22 ridings by an average of just 1,473 votes, including two urban ridings in Edmonton. They also lost a seat in Calgary, four seats in suburban Vancouver, and two in the Greater Toronto Area.
Bert Chen, an elected national councillor who represented the party in Ontario, also launched a petition shortly after the election to review O’Toole, citing concerns similar to Batters’.