Erin O’Toole’s End as Conservative Party Leader

Erin O’Toole voted out of his position as leader after being in position for 17 short and turbulent months. 

Key Actors:
  • Erin O’Toole; Ex-Conservative Party leader; the lead character in question 
  • The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC); the opposition to the current liberal government
  • The Freedom Convoy (truckers); the current blockaders of Parliament and, in O’Toole’s case, the straw that broke the camel’s back

Erin O’Toole was the leader of Conservative Party of Canada until a few days ago. He held that position for quite short time as he was in office for only 17 months. He was voted out of that seat because failed to become popular to the party members, and especially, the party leader.  

Long Term Causes for His Demise 

There are quite a few theories on how he lost support, but the most prominent one seems to go as follows: he shifted his opinion one too many times, thus giving the people an impression of a dishonest man. 

O’Toole became the CPC’s leader when, by taking advantage of an opportunity, he appealed to the grassroots of the Conservative party. Specifically, he said that he was a “true blue” conservative and would take a staunch rightest stance and promote conservatism again. This stance was quite popular with the people as well as party leaders, however, this ideology was too radical and unable to appeal to the masses. So, when the 2021 election came around, he changed his allegiance by pleading to the centrist. While this move was considered as a smart by most party members, it created fissures in the party as O’Toole insulted his old supporters when he decided to distance the party image from traditional conservatism.  

Later, he shifted his opinion again by pushing for a carbon tax, but this time, he didn’t even consult his MPs when he made the decision. Not only was this policy highly unpopular in grassroots of the CPC, but it also created a divide between the MPs and O’Toole. Indeed, this policy was so strange and destructive that one is compelled to speculate about how there might be something else behind the scenes.  

In the end, O’Toole created parties within the party and alienated himself with the MPs, setting up the stage for his demise. 

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back 

O’Toole was unpopular, but the final mistake that he made which showed his incompetence was his reaction to the Freedom Convoy. A few days before the truckers arrived at Ottawa, O’Toole held a back-and-forth debate on whether he should meet with them. In this debate, he was noticeably unwilling to support their cause. However, a few days later, when other conservative leaders were avidly supporting the convoy, O’Toole agreed to meet with Convoy leaders where he then expressed how he deeply emphasised with their message. This rapid change in his endorsements and his general failure in dealing with the Trucker–which should have been very easy for conservative leaders–did not bode well with CPC. So, the Caucus cast a vote to rid O’Toole of his position and passed with 61% of the MPs (73 of 118) voting against him.   

What Now?

For now, an interim leader has been selected, and the CPC are aiming to rapidly elect a new leader. Most of the MPs appear to be glad at O’Toole’s removal and seems to want a breath of fresh air after growing “disillusioned” with O’Toole’s leadership. They also hope that the new leader will bring harmony and homogenise the now divided party.  


Aaron Wherry. “Two Roads Diverged before the Conservative Party — and Left Erin O’Toole Stranded | CBC News.” Pereodical. CBC news, February 2, 2022. 

Clark, Campbell. “Erin O’Toole, We Hardly Knew Ye.” The Globe and Mail, February 2, 2022. 

Levitz, Stephanie. “The inside Story of the Plot to Topple Erin O’Toole: ‘It’s about Character.’” The Toronto Star, February 3, 2022, sec. Federal Politics. 

Tasker, John Paul, and Nick Boisvert · CBC News ·. “Candice Bergen Voted Interim Conservative Leader after Caucus Ousts O’Toole | CBC News.” CBC, February 2, 2022.×652/smart/filters:cb(2700061000)/

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