O'Toole says Conservative caucus is united despite vote giving MPs power to oust him

·2 min read

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says the party caucus is fully united and he encouraged MPs gathered at a caucus meeting to vote in favour of a mechanism that would give them the power to oust him as leader.

Under the Reform Act passed in 2015, each party's caucus is required to decide after an election whether it wants to empower its members to trigger a leadership review, which requires a written notice backed by at least 20 per cent of the caucus.

O'Toole says he supports the Reform Act and encouraged people to vote in favour of it today, but he did not directly answer a question on whether he would ask members to vote on his leadership in the next six months.

He says his entire caucus is disappointed with the election outcome, no one more so than him, and that's why it was announced today that outgoing Edmonton Centre MP James Cumming will hold a review of the Tory campaign.

O'Toole says the review will involve caucus, national council, the Conservative party and the fund to ensure a thorough probe of where the party fell short and what it did right so it can win an election that could be here in the next 18 months.

O'Toole says he accepts responsibility for the election outcome, which sent 119 Conservative MPs to Parliament, as he says he had a plan to win the confidence of Canadians and "we fell short."

But he added the simple reason for the loss was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau using the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to "divide Canadians."

"We did not. Did we pay a price for it? Perhaps we did."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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