Erin O’Toole is out as leader of the Conservative Party.
This came as a bit of a surprise, if only because I wasn’t aware they were even having a vote to remove him. In the event, 73 out of 118 MPs voted for his ouster, which is pretty emphatic.
O’Toole was not an inspiring leader, though the Conservatives did win the popular vote in the 2021 federal election (as they did in 2019). Apparently the main complaint against him was that he was too much of a centrist on issues like abortion, a carbon tax, balancing the budget, and firearms. In the way they speak of these things, this made him more of a Red than a Blue Tory.
What his removal seems to signal is a tilting of the Conservatives toward right-wing populism. Personally, I think there is some sense in dumping O’Toole if only for his lack of charisma and inability to be the party’s standard-bearer. But I don’t see how running further to the right, even if only on culture-war issues, is going to help the Tories. And if the switch was driven by an unhappiness among the grass-roots about mask mandates and cancel culture, we may be entering into a period of deeply unserious politics. This is too bad, because I think Justin Trudeau has shown himself to be a corrupt and ineffective prime minister. The country can do better, but I’m afraid better is not going to be a choice moving forward.