Newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole delivers his winning speech following the Conservative Party of Canada 2020 Leadership Election in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Sean Kilpatrick)

Central Okanagan Conservative MPs happy with O’Toole leadership choice

‘The Conservative voters last night sent a very clear message to Ottawa’

The federal Conservative party has a new leader and the Central Okanagan’s local MPs think he will be a “unifier” for conservatives across the country.

Erin O’Toole was declared the winner of the leadership race early Monday morning after technical problems delayed the vote results by hours, as thousands of ballots had to be replicated by hand after the counting machine shredded their envelopes.

After three rounds of counting, O’Toole emerged the victor with 57 per cent of the vote, a resounding victory over his rival Peter MacKay, who won 43 per cent.

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas said O’Toole’s vast private sector experience — both as a lawyer and a helicopter navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force — has him well equipped to represent the beliefs of the people of the Central Okanagan.

“He’s already in the leader of the official Opposition’s office, doing the work and hitting the ground running exactly as he said he would,” Albas said.

The high voter turnout — with over 175,000 ballots cast — shows the Conservative movement is very strong, Albas said, and people are interested in politics and want to see a change.

“The Conservative voters last night sent a very clear message to Ottawa,” he said.

READ MORE: O’Toole likely to move quickly to put stamp on federal Conservative party

READ MORE: Erin O’Toole wins Conservative leadership after results delayed for hours

Kelowna Lake Country MP Tracy Gray said she spent a day and a half knocking on doors with O’Toole last summer when she was in the midst of her own election campaign. To Gray, O’Toole represents a movement towards unity in the large tent of beliefs that the Conservative party represents.

“He’s head down, hardworking and that’s what we need right now,” said Gray, who endorsed O’Toole throughout his campaign.

While Albas didn’t endorse any of the four candidates who ran for the party’s leadership, he’s fully supportive of the new leader.

“He brings a lot of perspective from outside of government… and he has a lot of experience in the House as well,” said Albas.

O’Toole’s strong performance in both Western provinces and Quebec also bode confidence in local parliamentarians come the next election — whenever that may be.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has prorogued Parliament until Sept. 23, at which point he will give a throne speech. After that speech, opposing parties could potentially trigger an election with a non-confidence vote.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about what will happen in the fall and he has to be prepared for all of it,“ Albas said.

“But given what happened in the leadership election and how good his French is, he can connect with people from right across this country in their own language and share his positive vision for this country.”

Currently, Gray and Albas serve as critics in the official Opposition’s “shadow cabinet.” Gray serves as the interprovincial trade critic, while Albas is the critic of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

“That’ll be up to the leader,” Gray said when asked whether she anticipates her and Albas will keep their critic positions. “And of course, with the throne speech, we’ll have to see if the government has confidence or if the government will fall.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Conservative Party of Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees return to action with 7-0 win over Salmon Arm

The Vees will get right back to it tomorrow night

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read