LILLEY: O’Toole needs to focus on Trudeau, not the dumb mistakes of those around him

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Chaos might be the best word to describe what is going on around Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. For the second day in a row, O’Toole was trying to raise important issues surrounding the governing of this country, or lack thereof, and he was sideswiped by members of his own party.

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First, the news of a letter sent by the Conservative Party’s governing National Council demanding emails and phone records from a wayward member who has called for O’Toole’s ouster, then an apology from an MP who has spent nearly the last week giving him headaches.

Once again, as O’Toole was sounding the alarm on the lack of leadership from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, people around him were setting fires.

“The Liberal-NDP coalition will be a disaster for the Canadian economy. It will raise taxes on Canada’s middle class, including the sale of homes, and it will continue to drive up the cost of everything from gas to groceries to housing,” O’Toole said Tuesday morning as he unveiled his party’s slate of critics to take on the Trudeau Liberals.

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With Michelle Rempel-Garner covering the natural resources file and Pierre Poilievre attacking on finance, O’Toole has placed two of his best communicators on files where there are stark differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Liberals appear willing to spend Canada into oblivion while shutting down key industries like oil and gas and ignoring the inflation crisis hitting many families.

Rempel-Garner and Poilievre are welcome antidotes to the Liberal complacency.

Sadly though, once again, O’Toole is having to deal with internal struggles and answer questions about those issues. This isn’t the usual problem of the media being tougher on Conservative leaders than Liberal ones, the Conservatives have caused these problems and asking about them is legitimate.

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It’s true that these issues seem bigger when the government is near silent.

Trudeau called the election back in August saying it was the most important decision of our times. Then after winning by the narrowest of margins, he’s gone to sleep again.

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Sure, he went to Europe to party in Holland, show up late for the G20 in Rome and pledge to kill off our oil industry in Glasgow, but those are events and speeches, not action. Parliament has not met, policy has not been set, issues have not been dealt with.

It has just been announced that Trudeau has been summoned to Washington for a meeting with US President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador but Trudeau should have had this meeting two weeks ago in Europe. Biden’s budget bill is threatening Canada’s auto industry and Trudeau has done little about it, his ministers only recently becoming active on the file.

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So, with the lack of action by the actual government, we focus on the problems of the opposition Conservatives.

  1. Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole speaks to media on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

    Erin O’Toole reveals shadow cabinet, former leadership rival Leslyn Lewis not included

  2. Conservative Leader Erin OToole (L) and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

    LILLEY: Trudeau smiles and waves; O’Toole beat up over vaccinations

  3. Conservative party Leader Erin O'Toole speaks at a press conference in Ottawa, Sept. 21, 2021.

    Erin O’Toole: COVID-19 vaccine comments by Tory MPs Gladu, Lewis not helpful

O’Toole does have an issue with an anti-vax faction within his caucus, the numbers range from 12-15 depending on who you speak to. Those are the people behind the so-called “civil liberties” caucus. If civil liberties were the real issue these MPs would have been forming their caucus at the height of lockdown measures.

In the coming weeks, O’Toole needs to figure out how to deal with this faction which much of the Canadian population will have little time for while also raising real and serious issues of civil liberties but also the economic mismanagement of Canada by Trudeau and his team. We have an incompetent government; we can’t afford to have an incompetent opposition as well.

Conservative MPs, national council members and others around O’Toole need to let him focus on Trudeau rather than letting their mistakes put the focus on him.

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