Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 17, 2021
O’Toole kicks senator out of Conservative caucus after she questioned his leadership
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has kicked Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters out of the national caucus a day after she launched a petition calling for an expedited review of his leadership.
“As the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I will not tolerate an individual discrediting and showing a clear lack of respect towards the efforts of the entire Conservative caucus, who are holding the corrupt and disastrous Trudeau government to account,” O’Toole said in a media statement late Tuesday.
The statement was released shortly after Batters emerged from a virtual meeting of the Senate Conservative caucus. The Conservative leader in the Senate, Manitoba Sen. Don Plett, took no action against Batters on that call.
Instead, Batters said she learned she was out of the Conservative fold through a telephone message from O’Toole.
“Tonight, Erin O’Toole tried to silence me for giving our CPC members a voice. I will not be silenced by a leader so weak that he fired me VIA VOICEMAIL,” Batters said in a social media post.
“Most importantly, he cannot suppress the will of our Conservative Party members!”
Batters launched the petition Monday, saying she and other party members have lost faith in O’Toole. She argued the party experienced “significant losses” in the fall campaign after O’Toole flip-flopped on major issues such as carbon pricing, firearms and conscience rights. She said she wants members to have a say on O’Toole’s future prior to the planned 2023 party convention.
Party rules require an automatic leadership review at the first national convention following a failed federal election campaign. Batters has said she wants that vote to happen in the next six months.
“Mr. O’Toole flip-flopped on policies core to our party within the same week, the same day, and even within the same sentence. The members didn’t have a say on that, but we must have one on his leadership,” Batters said in a statement announcing the petition.
Under the party’s constitution, a referendum on any matter can be launched if five per cent of Conservative members sign a petition calling on the party to poll the membership on the topic through a referendum. (CBC)