Conservative Party's Erin O’Toole dumped after a large majority of MPs voted for his removal


The leader of Canada’s principal opposition Conservative Party Erin O’Toole was unceremoniously dumped on Wednesday, after a large majority of MPs voted for his removal. O’Toole was ousted after 73 of the party’s 119 MPs voted against him in a review of his leadership. O’Toole also served as the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons. MPs voted to elect MP Candice Bergen as the interim leader of the party in the evening.

The departure of O’Toole, who was defeated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party in the snap national elections in September, has once again underscored that the Conservatives have been unsettled at the top since former leader and PM Stephen Harper quit in 2015 after being best by Trudeau in the 2015 polls. But Harper had been Prime Minister for eight years prior to that election.

Conservatives will now have to put in place another leadership race just 18 months since the previous contest which saw O’Toole emerge to upset the favourite, former cabinet minister Peter Mackay. O’Toole faced a revolt within the party as he attempted to move it to the centre with moderate stances on issues like climate change, but that gambit proved electorally unsuccessful. He led the Tories to 119 seats in the elections, down two from the tally of his predecessor Andrew Scheer.

Scheer had resigned in 2020 despite improving the party’s performance, with 22 more MPs than the 99 in 2015.

O’Toole had seemed defiant earlier, as he had tweeted, “I’m not going anywhere.” But he accepted defeat on Wednesday and exited.

The date for the leadership race will be determined in the days ahead but could precipitate yet another leader into an early electoral battle, as there is speculation that Trudeau, who is heading his second consecutive minority government, may try for a majority yet again in 2023. However, there have also been recent reports about growing unhappiness within the Liberals about Trudeau’s leadership, and whether he can survive to lead the party into another election as his unpopularity has spiked.

Among those who have been rumoured to be potential leadership contestants are MPs Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis, Mackay, and former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)