Conservative Senator Denise Batters is calling on the Conservatives to hold a review of Erin O’Toole’s leadership within the next six months.
In a video statement released Monday morning, Batters launched a petition for Conservative members to seek a referendum on O’Toole’s leadership, accusing him of causing division within the party.
“On behalf of Conservative activists and members from coast to coast, we started this petition because we don’t want to see the party ripped apart again,” said Batters.
“Under Erin O’Toole’s leadership, the rift in our party is growing – he told us ‘This is not your grandfather’s Conservative party’ and warned campaigning MPs they must agree 100% with his ‘new direction’ – which constantly changes – or get out of caucus.”
Additionally, Batters accused O’Toole of flip-flopping on key promises and issues important to the Conservative base.
“Whether it was on carbon tax, firearms, or conscience rights – 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,” she said.
“He won the leadership race claiming to be ‘True Blue’ but ran an election campaign nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau’s Liberals.”
Batters’ petition calls on the Conservative Party of Canada to hold a leadership review on O’Toole by June 30, 2022, earlier than the scheduled review at the party’s 2023 convention.
According to Section 12.3 of the CPC constitution, any party member can submit a petition requesting a referendum if it is signed by more than five percent of the party’s membership in at least five provinces.
Batters is the latest prominent party member to break with O’Toole. Since O’Toole lost the 2021 election and was unable to make any gains, a number of people have called for O’Toole to be recalled.
“Erin O’Toole lost this election by every measure. Our party lost half a million votes, claimed fewer seats, and a lower popular vote than in 2019. We lost diverse seats and MPs in the GTA, Alberta and in Vancouver’s suburbs,” said Batters.
Another petition initiated by beleaguered National Council member Bert Chen calling on O’Toole to be removed from leadership has garnered over 5,500 signatures. Since the petition was released the party has launched a sweeping inquiry into Chen including demands that he hand over private communications.