Local Conservative MPs say focus is on uniting party, after O’Toole’s exit

Found on: BattlefordsNOW

Local federal Conservative MPs in the Battlefords and Meadow Lake area say the party will now need to focus on uniting the caucus, following the announcement that the majority of the Conservativecaucusvoted to remove Erin O’Toole as party leader.

O’Toole lost a vote to remain as leader of the Official Opposition after a majority of the Conservative MPs cast a ballot in favour of pushing him out of his position. The party’s 119 members of Parliament met via video conference to cast secret ballots after about one-third of them signed a notice that resulted in a leadership review. Ontario MP and national caucus chair Scott Reid said in a statement 73 Conservative MPs voted to replace O’Toole while 45 endorsed him. As caucus chair, Reid said he did not vote.

MP Gary Vidal, serving the constituents of Desnethé —Missinippi—Churchill River, in the Meadow Lake and surrounding area, thanked O’Toole for his commitment, and welcomed interim Leader Candice Bergen into the role, until a new party leader is chosen.

Vidal said in a statement Thursday that he would not discuss the details involving O’Toole’s removal.

“Throughout my political career, both as mayor of Meadow Lake and now as Member of Parliament I have always kept internal matters internal,” he said. “Therefore, I will not be sharing what was said during our caucus meetings.”

Vidal said he continues to focus on his work representing his constituents’ interests.

“Throughout the last month my team and I have been hard at work advocating within the government for action on many issues and initiatives throughout the riding,” he said.

Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk reiterated Vidal’s sentiments about the priority for the caucus to unite.

“This resolve brings opportunity for our Conservative caucus to unite around our shared conservative principles and to focus on standing up for Canadians,” she said in a statement Thursday. “I look forward with optimism to working with my colleagues to hold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to account and to showing Canadians a strong government in waiting.”

Falk thanked O’Toole for his service to the Conservative party.