Don Martin: With Trudeau back as a target, the worst may be over for O’Toole

OTTAWA – If bad leaders come out three times, this week’s storm of ugly headlines has clearly catapulted Erin O’Toole into the Conservative Party’s disastrous trio of leaders alongside Andrew Scheer and Stockwell Day.

But the worst may now lie behind O’Toole as his party prepares to return to Parliament in five days to take aim at the real target, namely Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Behind closed doors on Wednesday, the Conservative Party caucus passed a crisis-what-what? perspective on the challenges that are being posed to their leader in just 15 months.

Trusted conventional sources say there is little indication that O’Toole’s call for an early review of his reign is attracting the interest of MPs or that heavy-handed discipline is being imposed on those who dissent. Dissent is seen as unacceptably harsh.

Granted, it was cowardly to use voicemail to tell Senator Denise Batters that she had been promoted as a Conservative MP for launching a leadership review petition.

O’Toole should have had the guts to look her straight in the eye when the knife hit and perhaps explain that she could return to the caucus if the leadership’s petition didn’t attract enough signatures. .

But Batters was just a senator after all, and the Red Room was no longer filled with nap appointees who rummaged through sober thoughts about what party leaders told them to think.

Now that the independents are in the majority, although the majority of Trudeau appointees are liberal, there is little reason left to allow appointed senators to march the Baobab flag. passed the Senate again. They should all be thrown out of the caucus. But I digress.

Perhaps the best news for O’Toole on Wednesday were signs that the so-called Civil Liberties Rally was made up of anti-vaccination defenders – essentially Andrew Scheer loyalists. and anti-abortion MPs engaged in a new crusade – went up in smoke. As one congressman confided, “They were never a real thing anyway.”

If so, that eliminates the parliamentary migraine for O’Toole when he returns to the House because you know Trudeau will salivate to throw tar at the group as dangerous defenders. for vaccination organisations.

In the big picture, observers in the caucus told me that at least a dozen MPs were suspected of being offside with O’Toole’s leadership, but no one was expected to make his views public. surname. As one insider previously described, they are just ‘chocolate soldiers’ who will melt in the heat of battle.

Now, this does not mean that Erin O’Toole is suddenly immersed in a closed kumbaya affair where he is safe from his boardwalk to the next election.

His popularity in polls is dwindling and is likely to fall even further amid the buzz of cryptic rebels. His moderation in far-right ideological angles has created more genuine green enemies than Senator Batters. And with no possible electoral victory in sight, he has no cabinet considerations to hang around as a way to enforce discipline among the skeptics.

But a return to Parliament offers an opportunity for an Official Opposition while the wait around is merely space for internal mischief.

If Trudeau returns from Washington this week without any savings gifts from President Joe Biden while Buy America protectionism rebounds to Trump-like levels, well, large-caliber ammo delivery to a Conservative attack on the House of Commons next week .

(Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trudeau misses most of next week in the Commons spreading sympathy and multi-million-dollar relief around the flood-ravaged BC. It was supposed to be a mission. reasonable mercy for this year’s worst natural disaster, but also offers irresistible optical effects).

And while reining in inflation and rebuilding broken supply chains are beyond any prime minister’s power to fix, that doesn’t mean the opposition parties can’t have a day on the ground. tried to connect public anger with Trudeau’s economic mismanagement.

After a very bad few weeks, Erin O’Toole is now counting on her influential MPs to get rebel MPs to quietly line up and stop the O’Toole review fever from infecting her. edge.

The goal now is to target Trudeau and prevent the Tory circle wagons from firing inside – at him.

That is the key point.


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