Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas did not sign the letter calling for the removal of Erin O’Toole as party leader ahead of Wednesday’s vote (Feb 2) that saw him ousted by his caucus.
“When it comes to my own vote, it’s no secret I am in Mr. O’Toole’s shadow cabinet and have a position of responsibility,” said Albas. “Naturally being in the shadow cabinet means you support your leader. That being said, I recognize the legitimacy of today’s proceedings. I’d like to thank Mr. O’Toole for the sacrifices he and his family have made in his role as leader of the official opposition. I’ve spoken to Mr. Harper, Rona Ambrose, Andrew Scheer, and I’m sure there are many other politicians that can attest that it is the toughest job in Canadian politics, and more so over the past two years because of COVID.”
Conservative MPs voted 73 to 45 to remove O’Toole. This is the third time in just over six years conservative party members will be asked to choose a new leader.
“Political parties go through this all the time,” said Albas. “Let’s remember that in 2011 people were writing that the Liberal Party was done for. We’ve had the last two elections with back-to-back minorities. In the last election, he (Justin Trudeau) lost the popular vote and secured the smallest minority mandate in Canadian history. I recognize my party has lots to do, but let’s also recognize the governing party has lost a tremendous amount of ground from good works of previous conservative leaders.”
Albas added while he is focused on his party choosing an interim and then a new leader, his main concern is his constituents.
“I have people right now who are facing the biggest challenge of their lives when it comes to the flooding and wildfires,” said Albas. “Canadians deserve a government that is held to account every day and justifies every dollar. People know they have a government in waiting when they need it.”
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray responded to an interview request regarding O’Tool’s removalvia email:
“The Conservative Party of Canada Caucus has chosen to move forward with a new leader to unify and build our party as we represent Canadians and prepare for the next election. At a time when Canadians are hurting because of the failed Liberal policies, now more than ever we need common sense Conservative solutions for all of Canada.”
Since his election defeat, O’Toole has struggled to bring his caucus together on issues such as vaccine mandates, with many MPs feeling the party needed to take a tougher stand against such policies.