Who is Erin O’Toole? 5 things to know about the new Conservative leader

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-08-24 15:34

He's hoping to become prime minister of Canada during the next election

The newest leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is here.

After a long night of delays in vote counting, Erin O’Toole has been selected to lead.

The vote made history, too. It took place during a pandemic and nearly 175,000 registered Conservatives voted to pick their new leader — the highest turnout ever.

In the end, O’Toole was the winner, which means he’ll compete against Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other major party leaders to become prime minister the next time there’s a Canadian election.

But who is he, what does he stand for and what is he promising Canadians?

1. His life before politics

Erin O’Toole used to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He joined in 1991 and earned his wings in 1997.

O’Toole at basic training camp in 1991. ‘The rappel cliff was one of the highlights that summer,’ he said. (Image credit: erinotoolemp/Instagram)

He was part of search and rescue operations, eventually becoming an air navigator and captain who served for 12 years.

After serving, O’Toole became a lawyer in 2003 and entered politics in 2012.

Over the course of his life, he’s lived in at least four provinces, was born in Montreal, raised in Bowmanville, Ont., and Port Perry, Ont., stationed in Winnipeg, served in Shearwater, N.S., and politically represents Durham, Ont., as their member of Parliament.

2. Plans to ‘Take Back Canada’

O’Toole ran for the Conservative leadership with the slogan of “Take Back Canada.”

His platform has many parts, including rebuilding Canada and reviving the economy.

But there is one main focus of his campaign: job creation.

“We are for jobs and opportunity for working Canadians,” he said in an opinion piece written for CBC News.

O’Toole has faced criticism from his competitors.

Peter MacKay, who also ran for the leadership role, accused O'Toole of dividing the party.

“You are attacking other Conservatives, which badly hurts our party,” MacKay told O’Toole during one of the debates. “I am the only candidate who can unite the party.”

3. Family and furry friends

O’Toole met his wife, Rebecca, while staying and studying in Halifax. They’ve been married for 20 years. Like him, she’s a lawyer.

From left to right, Erin O’Toole pictured on Family Day with his daughter, Mollie, wife Rebecca, son Jack and dog, Wexford. (Image credit: erinotoolemp/Instagram)

They have two children, Jack and Mollie, and a dog, Wexford.

4. Second time’s the charm

This is not the first time O’Toole has tried to lead the Conservatives.

He ran for the Conservative leadership in 2017, when he placed third and eventually lost to Andrew Scheer.

O’Toole has called himself a ‘True Blue’ Conservative, suggesting his views were more in line with what the party traditionally stood for, compared to some of his rivals. (Image credit: erinotoolemp/Instagram)

This time, he won the leadership race with 59 per cent of the vote.

5. In his own words

With files from (Éric Grenier/ CBC)
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: (Sean Kilpatrick/Getty Images)

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