The inability of the Conservatives to wrest power from the Liberals in the election has led to criticism of Erin O’Toole within the party and calls for him to resign, but the Tory leader has also received strong support from senior MPs.
Several well-known Tory MPs, newly elected or re-elected, have not openly challenged O’Toole and instead have closed ranks behind him, seeing the pitfalls of throwing the party into another round of infighting.
Garnett Genuis, re-elected Conservative MP in Alberta, tweeted on Sept. 23:
“Conservatives should stay united, defend our principles, and remain focused on giving Canadians better government. We must learn the lessons of the election, share constructive feedback, and remain united behind Erin O’Toole.”
Conservatives should stay united, defend our principles, and remain focused on giving Canadians better government. We must learn the lessons of the election, share constructive feedback, and remain united behind @erinotoole. #cdnpoli #Elxn44 (6/8)
— Garnett Genuis (@GarnettGenuis) September 23, 2021
Michelle Rempel Garner, also re-elected in her Alberta riding, said the campaign would be fully reviewed. “Given that we are in a significant crisis period in Canada, I take Erin O’Toole at his word that he will do this and I will contribute to that process.”
MP Michael Chong, who was re-elected in Ontario, tweeted: “Proud to have contested the 44th general election with Erin O’Toole and my Conservative colleagues. We’ve laid the groundwork for victory.”
Proud to have contested the 44th general election with Erin O’Toole and my Conservative colleagues.
We’ve laid the groundwork for victory. #cdnpoli
— Michael Chong 🇨🇦 (@MichaelChongMP) September 21, 2021
O’Toole’s former leadership rival Leslyn Lewis, newly elected MP for Haldimand-Norfolk in Ontario, also spoke out in support of the Tory leader.
“I believe that the rush to apply judgement on our former leader Andrew Scheer, before we had a chance to complete our review of the 2019 campaign, and while emotions were still high, was unwise,” Lewis wrote on her website.
“I believe that doing the same to Erin now would be equally unwise.”
Bert Chen, a senior member of the party’s national council, initiated a petition seeking the recall of O’Toole as leader, but the party’s president, Rob Batherson, questioned the validity of the endeavour and said that a formal leadership review would take place.
O’Toole told reporters in Ottawa on Sept. 21 that he had already initiated a review.
“I am disappointed that we lost some members and I’ve already initiated a post-election review to examine what went right, what went wrong, and what we can do better to win in 18 months,” he said.
With files from The Canadian Press