The ballots from Monday’s federal election haven’t yet been counted, but a member of the Conservative Party of Canada’s National Council has already launched a petition calling for Erin O’Toole to be recalled as leader.
Bert Chen, who holds an Ontario seat on the Conservatives’ governing council, says in his petition that O’Toole has “betrayed” the party and has to go.
“Erin O’Toole has BETRAYED the principles that the Conservative Party is founded on,” the petition says.
“Erin O’Toole has BROKEN THE TRUST of the members of the Conservative Party.
“Erin O’Toole’s campaign in the 2021 Federal Election FAILED in electing enough Conservative MPs to form a government.”
The Change.org petition is non-binding, but according to Chen it is being used to collect contact information to share an official version with Conservative members for the purpose of recalling O’Toole by internal party referendum.
The Conservative Party of Canada’s constitution allows party members to trigger a binding referendum if 5% of members in at least five provinces sign a petition calling for one.
The petition cites O’Toole’s proposed carbon tax as a key objection, as well as “trampling the freedoms of the individual in supporting vaccine passports” and putting forward “an ineffective plan that abandoned fiscal responsibility.”
While the party’s constitution requires O’Toole as a losing party leader to submit to a leadership review at the next policy convention, this isn’t scheduled until 2023, which Chen’s petition says allows O’Toole to “dodge his accountability.”
O’Toole has signalled his intention to stay on and build off of his party’s performance in the election.
Speaking to reporters from Ottawa Tuesday afternoon, O’Toole avoided questions about calls from within his party for his resignation.
“In about 30 ridings, we came within 2,000 votes of the Liberals. We are building towards victory next time. We are closer in dozens upon dozens of ridings but not close enough,” he said.
“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.”
O’Toole mentioned the “18 months” target several times in an apparent reference to a comment made by Justin Trudeau during the campaign that a minority government might not be stable enough to last longer than a year and a half.
As of Tuesday evening, the Conservatives had about 250,000 more votes than the Liberals, but trailed in seats with the Liberals leading and elected in 158, compared to 119 for the Conservatives.