Erin O’Toole was chosen as the new leader of the federal Conservative party on Aug. 24, 2020. (The Canadian Press file)

Erin O’Toole was chosen as the new leader of the federal Conservative party on Aug. 24, 2020. (The Canadian Press file)

Dalton endorsed new Conservative leader

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP calls Erin O’Toole a unifier

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP Marc Dalton likes the leader his party chose, but is not sure he wants to face a federal election campaign as soon as next month.

The Conservative Party chose Erin O’Toole as the news party leader in a leadership race that ended early Monday morning in Ottawa.

Dalton said he had endorsed O’Toole.

“I was pleased he won. I felt he was the strongest in a very strong field,” he said.

Dalton said O’Toole’s background is impressive, having been a lawyer and a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force. His political career started in 2012, and he ran for the leadership in 2017, losing to Andrew Scheer. He is also “solid on his feet” in a debate, and Dalton sees him as “a unifier,” which is important following sometimes divisive leadership contests.

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

Leslyn Lewis, the Toronto lawyer who started the race as a virtual unknown, was also impressive to Dalton. She is the first visible minority person to run for the Conservative party leadership. Rosemary Brown ran for the NDP in 1975, and Hedy Fry for the Liberals in 2006. He said she is a social conservative, who takes a reasonable approach to issues.

The prospect of an election looms. It could be triggered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech next month, and a confidence vote.

READ ALSO: Prorogation was a surprise, but a new throne speech is welcome, Liberal MPs say

With a minority government there’s always potential for an election, said Dalton. However, he added the COVID-19 pandemic makes it a complicated time to have a federal election.

“We will be ready to go,” he said. “But we have to all be aware of the health environment we’re in.”

He defeated Liberal Dan Ruimy in the October 2019 campaign.

Ruimy hopes to take back the riding in the next election, but expects the throne speech will present measures the other parties can not vote against. So he is not expecting the government to fall next month.

“People aren’t ready for an election, and neither are the parties,” he said.

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