Erin O’Toole wants to welcome Canadians back into the Conservative fold.
The leadership hopeful insists there’s a need for the party to resonate with voters after defeat in the last federal election.
“They lost confidence in us and we have to earn that back,” said the Durham, Ont. MP who spoke to party faithful at the Vernon Golf and Country Club Saturday.
As part of that, O’Toole says there’s a need to hold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals accountable.
“They have a war on job creation. Everything they have done is anti-private sector,” said O’Toole.
“They raised taxes on small business. They brought in Canada Pension Plan reform that will help no one but lead to thousands of lost jobs. Debt and higher taxes are not the solution. His (Trudeau) economic record is a disaster. People know we’re strong on the economy and we can win them back if Conservatives promote these policies.”
O’Toole was first elected in 2012 and he served as Stephen Harper’s veterans affairs minister and parliamentary secretary for international trade.
“I’m the MP with the most support in B.C. and I have strength across the country,” he said of caucus member endorsements, including from Mel Arnold, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP.
“They see my ability to bring people together. I’m not a celebrity candidate or a career politician. Name recognition is my issue but once I get in front of people, they see why Mel and others have signed on.”
Prior to politics, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“There is nobody in the race with more experience than me. I’ve been tested,” he said.