Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 28, 2022
Erin O’Toole has to unhitch Conservatives from the ‘Freedom Convoy,’ or get run over
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has been putting down internal rebellions ever since last fall’s general election. This week, he is facing his greatest challenge yet: a new variant of concern running wild in his party.
Three high-profile MPs have openly defied Mr. O’Toole by coming out in support of the convoy of don’t-vax-me truckers snaking its way eastward on the Trans-Canada Highway as a protest against Ottawa’s newly imposed cross-border vaccine mandates for drivers.
One of the three, Pierre Poilievre, was named as the best choice to lead the Conservatives into the next election in a recent Nanos Research poll conducted for The Globe and Mail. Another, Candice Bergen, is the deputy leader of the party. The third rebel is Andrew Scheer, the previous leader.
As well, heading into a caucus retreat on Wednesday, Mr. O’Toole faced calls for an early leadership review from at least two riding associations. All of this has led to speculation that Mr. O’Toole has run out of allies, and may have to consider stepping down.
Here’s a better idea for Mr. O’Toole: Step up.
Ever since the Trudeau government brought in vaccine mandates for federal employees and people travelling by rail or plane last year, Mr. O’Toole has tried to straddle the fence, saying he supports vaccines but not mandates, and opposes mandates but not vaccines.
That weak position, and his obvious lack of enthusiasm for it, left him without answers (again) this week when reporters repeatedly tried and failed to get him to take a position on the truckers’ protest. (Continued: The Globe & Mail)