It has been a very challenging week for the Conservative Official Opposition in Ottawa.
Our Conservative Caucus held a secret ballot Wednesday on whether to replace Erin O’Toole as Leader. This option for caucus is available because of our adoption of the Reform Act at the start of the 44th Parliament. It allows caucus to vote to either endorse the Leader or replace him or her if 20% of caucus members sign a letter to the chair of National caucus requesting such a vote.
The results of the vote are public, and caucus voted 73 to 45 to replace the Leader who subsequently tendered his resignation to the party. As a result, caucus has selected Candice Bergen, one of our MPs from Manitoba, as the Interim Leader. You can read Candice’s biography here.
Many constituents and other Albertans have taken the time to email or call me this week to express an opinion on the Leader’s fate. I read all of the emails I received on this matter and these views factored into my decision. I have publicly stated that I voted not to replace the leader at this time. Members of the Conservative Party of Canada selected Mr. O’Toole as leader and I believe they should have been given the right to determine his fate. Mr. O’Toole assured caucus he would ask the party to give members that right at the earliest possible opportunity this year.
Making a leadership change is more than just one person. Conservatives need to have a conversation about where we go as a party in Parliament, what we believe, and who we want to be. My views are clear on the path the party needs follow. I enclose a few clips below for your interest.
- National Post – https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/with-erin-otoole-out-new-conservative-leader-will-face-bloody-tough-job-healing-divided-party
- Calgary Eyeopener (fast forward to 9:17 in the clip) – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-5-calgary-eyeopener/clip/15893093-calgary-eyeopener-podcast-thursday-february-3
- CTV Calgary Morning Show (fast forwarded to 2:03:00 in the clip) – https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?binId=1.1201914
The party will now embark on its third leadership contest in six years. This will be an opportunity for all those who have provided me with their thoughts and ideas over the past several years to have an impact. I urge you to consider becoming involved in helping to ensure wherever the Conservative Party of Canada goes next reflects your views and beliefs about the type of representation you want – whatever that may be, and whether you agree with my views on this matter or not.
I want to conclude by noting that I have been in my fair share of leadership challenges over my years in provincial and federal politics – including the caucus vote that ended the leadership of a sitting Premier. Each has been difficult and painful. There is a great deal of healing we now must do as a party and an equal amount of soul searching to decide where we go from here.
Ron Liepert, MP
Calgary Signal Hill