Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton said a leadership race could be a chance for his Conservative Party to gain some political momentum.
Leader Erin O’Toole lost a vote to remain leader of the party on Wednesday, as the caucus members voted to replace him by a vote of 73-45.
“It’s not surprising. Whenever you have an election loss there’s going to be a lot of reflection, and challenges,” said Dalton.
He remarked that Andrew Scheer headed the party when it gained 22 seats in the election of 2015, and he still was replaced as leader. So when O’Toole’s ran an election campaign that lost two seats, despite polls predicting a Liberal majority when the election was called, Dalton expected there to be “push and pull” in the Conservative caucus.
“Aaron I count as a friend. He was committed to the party, and dedicated to the country,” added Dalton.
Dalton said O’Toole tried to grow the party’s appeal, but his approach “didn’t resonate with a lot of the base.”
The second-term MP was glad that a decisive vote offered a clear decision and direction for the party, and said Manitoba MP Candice Bergen is a good choice to lead the party until a new leader is chosen.
“She’ll do a great job as interim leader.”
A leadership race can create excitement and involvement in the party, but those involved have to be careful not to divide the party with an acrimonious race.
“You’ve got to pull together, at the end of the day,” said Dalton.
Dalton was critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the trucker convoy protest in Ottawa, saying the Liberal PM is “slamming them” and name calling, rather than meeting with the protesters, or addressing their concerns about public health orders.
He said Trudeau pits Canadians against each other, on the vaccination issue, in a “galling” manner.
“I support the constitutional right for people to make their own decisions,” he said.
He was also relieved to see Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer, signalling that it may be time to ease restrictions.
“I support opening up the country, rather than closing it down.”
Dalton said he is vaccinated, as is his wife Marlene, but they both had a recent bought of COVID-19 that “knocked us out for a few days.”
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