Sen. Denise Batters is no longer welcomed in the Conservative national caucus, but she remains a member of the party’s Senate caucus.
Conservative senators have chosen to keep Batters despite Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to remove her from the party’s national caucus after she launched a petition calling for a review of his leadership.
Conservative Senate Leader Don Plett’s communications director Karine Leroux told The Canadian Press on Thursday that Batters remains a current member of the Conservative Senate caucus.
Leroux declined to elaborate, saying that it would encroach on caucus confidentiality.
While Plett tweeted out his support for O’Toole removing Batters from the national caucus on Tuesday, the other 17 Conservative senators had other thoughts on the matter. After meeting to discuss it, they have decided to keep Batters in the fold.
The decision to keep Batters’ in the Conservative Senate caucus suggests they are defying O’Toole, who warned on Wednesday that anyone supporting her petition would be kicked out of national caucus for not being a team player.
In comparison, when former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer kicked Sen. Lynn Beyak out of national caucus in 2018, the Conservative Senate caucus followed suit.
Batters started a petition on Monday to hold an early leadership review of O’Toole prior to the national convention in 2023. Batters claims O’Toole betrayed conservative principles, lost the last election by every measure and appears to be unable to win the next election.
The petition has seen thousands of signatures since it was launched, including the support of former Conservative MP Phil McColeman.
“Conservatives of all stripes are stronger when we are unified. Delaying a leadership review until just prior to the next election will only serve to fracture our party further,” said McColeman.
“A leadership review in 2022 gives us an opportunity to unite behind O’Toole or enough time to galvanize behind his successor to win in 2023. I applaud Senator Denise Batters for putting forward this petition. I was honoured to sign it.”