Nation need a leader that has charisma, when you’re against Justin Trudeau
Canadian Conservatives on Monday announced their new leader, former air force navigator Erin O’Toole, who will quickly have to get the party battle-ready to challenge liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in possible snap elections.
Following a largely virtual campaign due to the coronavirus epidemic, O’Toole, 47, was proclaimed the winner early Monday after a record 175,000 voted in the party race.
The results were delayed for several hours after an envelope-opening machine damaged several thousand mailed-in ballots.
Former veterans affairs minister O’Toole faced three other candidates in the race to replace outgoing Andrew Scheer.
Peter MacKay, 54, who served as foreign, defence and then justice minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, had been the favorite.
Two lawyers, little known to the general public, including the first black woman to run for the Conservative leadership, Leslyn Lewis, were also in the running.
O’Toole won in the third round after a close race with MacKay, picking up support of part of the religious right, which had supported Lewis, according to several analysts.
“We must continue to point out Liberal failings and corruption, but we must also show Canadians our vision for a stronger, more prosperous and more united Canada,” O’Toole said in his acceptance speech in Ottawa.
“Canada can and must do better and Conservatives will work hard to earn the trust and confidence of Canadians in the next election.”
A member of parliament for Ontario and less well-known than MacKay, O’Toole had twice previously run for the party leadership.
Both touted a need for the party to broaden its appeal to progressive voters, with a focus on jobs and the economy, but also to pitch a clear climate plan, which has been lacking from the Tories during the 2019 elections.