O’Toole to outline ‘positive Conservative vision’ in 1st news conference as party leader

Erin O’Toole is holding his first news conference Tuesday since winning the Conservative Party leadership.

A release from the party said O’Toole will “outline his positive Conservative vision to unite Canadians and defeat Justin Trudeau” during the 11 a.m. media availability in Ottawa. CBCNews.ca is carring it live.

O’Toole won the leadership on the third ballot early Monday after a long night of delays caused by technical glitches in the ballot processing system. Final results, which were expected before 9 p.m. ET Sunday, weren’t announced until after 1 a.m. Monday.

In his acceptance speech, O’Toole said he would work to unite any internal rifts in the party and broaden the party’s base of supporters.

“I believe that whether you are Black, white, brown or from any race or creed, whether you are LGBT or straight, whether you are an Indigenous Canadian or have joined the Canadian family three weeks ago or three generations ago,” he said.

“Whether you’re doing well or barely getting by. Whether you worship on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or not at all … you are an important part of Canada, and you have a home in the Conservative Party of Canada.”

‘Bold efforts’ required

Jonathan Malloy, a political science professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, said that outreach and “bold efforts” are critical if the Conservatives hope to win power.

He said that while Stephen Harper’s strategy of assembling the minimum number of voters necessary to win worked to ensure a unified and well-funded party, it proved insufficient in the 2019 election.

“This is beyond appealing to specific groups of voters and policy areas – it’s a mindset that sees growth and inclusion as a good, not just grudgingly necessary, thing,” he said in an email response to questions from CBC News.

“In particular, the party must cultivate a more positive and collective vision, rather than the resentful individualism of its 2019 election slogan: ‘It’s time for you to get ahead.'”

David Stewart, a political science professor at the University of Calgary, said a big challenge for O’Toole will be to appeal to voters who might have suspicions about the social conservative views of many within the party.

“The party can’t win an election without overwhelming support from social conservatives, but it can’t win if it is unable to reach out more broadly,” he said in an email.

While leadership contender Peter MacKay had a narrow lead on the first ballot, O’Toole ended up taking 57 per cent of the votes, scooping up support from those who had supported social conservative candidates Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan. 

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