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Opinion

Who is Erin O’Toole? Too early to say 

By Susan Riley       

Erin O’Toole currently has a foot in two camps—those who want a modern, centrist party that takes climate change, social justice and the role of government seriously, or, the moral purists who insist everyone think and behave as they do and despise those who don’t. It is a hard balance to maintain. Someday soon, perhaps after the policy convention, O’Toole is going to have to more explicitly pick a side.

On his right flank, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole, pictured Feb. 18, 2021, also has to beware of noisy critics like Maxime Bernier and the new, Western-based, right-wing Maverick Party, led by former Conservative MP Jay Hill. As well, social conservatives organized by Derek Sloan and others are competing for a significant presence at that upcoming policy conference and they are no friends of O’Toole’s, who some describe as Liberal-lite. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

CHELSEA, QUE.—In a recent podcast interview, former prime minister Joe Clark lamented the fact that contemporary political parties are no longer “instruments of reconciliation” aimed at welcoming all viewpoints and arriving at compromise through vigorous internal debate. As the 81-year-old political veteran told Kathleen Petty, host of West of Centre, in his time “people were fierce in their allegiances, but not close-minded.”

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