Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has removed Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters from the party just one day after she launched a petition calling for a review of his leadership.
"As the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I will not tolerate an individual discrediting and showing a clear lack of respect towards the efforts of the entire Conservative caucus, who are holding the corrupt and disastrous Trudeau government to account," O'Toole said in a media statement this week.
Batters had accused O'Toole of having 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.”
Certain members of his inner circle defended the move. Michelle Rempel Garner said she was "profoundly disappointed" in Batters for launching the petition. Melissa Lantsman, the newly elected MP (and transportation critic) from Thornhill, said Batters needs to "smarten up." "We have a cost of living crisis, out of control inflation, a war on Canada's energy sector and a waning reputation on the world stage. That's just a start. This helps Justin Trudeau, not Canadians," she said.
It is hard not to see the hypocrisy in this move. O'Toole, the same figure who expressed his admiration for ex-Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould's move against her own party, is now doing the very same thing: minimizing dissent within his own caucus.